MIDDLETOWN, Conn. - Trailing by twelve points after the first half, No. 24 Amherst College came all the way back to tie Wesleyan University at 60 with 11 seconds remaining, only to have Austin Hutcherson score a game-winning layup as the Cardinals knocked off Amherst 62-60 in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NESCAC) men's basketball action on Saturday afternoon at Silloway Gimnasium.
Grant Robinson '21 led the Mammoths with 21 points and had a chance to win the game with a deep three-pointer, but it hit the back of the rim and nearly missed.
The loss is the first since December 6th for Amherst (12-2, 2-1 NESCAC), who had won seven straight heading into this afternoon. Meanwhile, Wesleyan gets their third-straight win over a top-25 opponent as they improve to 11-4 overall and 3-1 in the NESCAC. It is also Wesleyan's seventh-consecutive victory against the Mammoths.
It was a defensive battle in the first 20 minutes of play, as Amherst was held to just 18 points in the first half. Wesleyan came out strong and held a 6-0 lead until the 16:35 mark when Robinson scored the first bucket of the game for Amherst which jumpstarted a 9-0 run for the visitors.
With 10:58 to play in the half, Joe DeLollo hit a 3-pointer to regain the lead for Cardinals as they went ahead, 14-11.
They would lead the rest of the half as they outscored the Mammoths 20-7 in the final 11 minutes to take a 31-18 lead at the break.
Wesleyan's defense held Amherst to 19.4% (7-36) shooting from the floor in the first half and just 16.7% (2-12) from 3-point range.
The second half was a different story, with the Mammoths slowly cutting into the lead early on.
After a layup by Eric Sellew '20 at the 11:53 mark cut the deficit to single digits, 42-34, Antone Walker responded with a 3-pointer seconds later. The two teams exchanged baskets often over the next several minutes.
Trailing by 12 with 7:17 to play, Amherst scored seven unanswered to get within five before a 3-pointer byJordan Bonner ended the run.
However, the Mammoths rallied once again as Robinson answered with five-straight points and a 3-pointer by Devonn Allen '22 at the 2:17 mark knotted the game at 58-58.
Following an inbounds pass, Jordan James made a great dish to Bonner down low as the senior hit an uncontested layup to go back up by two with 1:44 to play.
Neither team would score until the closing seconds when Robinson went to the line and knocked down two free throws to tie the game at 60-60.
Following a timeout, Hutcherson took the inbounds pass and knocked down the game-winner.
Both teams shot 5-of-7 from the free throw line and were nearly identical from deep, as Amherst finished 7-of-28 and Wesleyan went 7-of-22. However, the Cardinals went 43.9% (25-57) from the floor, while the Mammoths shot 32.4% (24-74).
Bonner led Wesleyan with 20 points and nine rebounds, while Walker dished out a game-high five assists and scored nine points. Hutcherson finished with 11 and four assists, and Jordan James dropped eight with eight rebounds and two blocks.
Robinson was joined in double-figures by Fru Che and Sellew, who scored 13 and 11 points, respectively. Sellew finished with a double-double as he grabbed a game-high 10 boards as well. Robinson, in addition to his 21 points, also recorded six rebounds, five steals, and four assists.
Wesleyan is back in action on Thursday, Jan. 17 and will head on the road for a non-conference matchup against Pine Manor scheduled for 7 p.m.
Amherst hosts Williams on Wednesday night at 7:00 pm in a non-league Little Three affair.