AMHERST, Mass. – Overcoming a nine-point deficit in the second half, Amherst men's basketball toppled Hamilton College, 76-69, in New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) play on Saturday night at LeFrak Gymnasium.
Winning their third conference game on the season, Amherst improves to a 12-6 ledger overall and 3-2 mark in the NESCAC, while Hamilton drops their fourth league outing and move to 12-6 (1-4 NESCAC).
Notching his first double-double on the season, Josh Chery '20 ended with 12 points and 10 boards, while Grant Robinson '21 scored a team-high 18 points with eight of those points coming from the charity stripe.
With the lead never growing more than four points for either side through the opening 20 minutes of play, both teams were neck and neck and were answering for each basket made by their opponent.
Up one point with 35 seconds remaining in the first, Kena Gilmour split a pair of Mammoth defenders and laid one off the glass to take a three-point lead heading into the break.
At the half, Amherst was led by Robinson and Chery who tallied eight points, respectively, while Chery also brought down an impressive eight boards, five defensive.
Amherst was shooting 36.4% from the field while the Continentals shot 55.2%, led by 5-of-8 shooting from Gilmour who entered halftime with 11 points and three rebounds.
In the opening three minutes of the second period, Mark Lutz netted a three with 17:37 remaining to give the Continentals a seven point lead (42-35). Fru Che '21 and Chery scored a pair of layups but couldn't close the gap as the away side went up 50-41 at the 12:48 mark, which was their largest lead.
Tim McCarthy '21 kicked off proceedings with a three-pointer before Garrett Day '21 cashed one in from deep as well, bringing the Mammoths to within three (50-47). After Day got to the free-throw line and sunk both, Chery drove to the basket and scored, giving Amherst their first lead since the 8:47 mark in the first half.
The key separation came following a made free throw from Grant Robinson '21 as Che intercepted a pass and setup the offense before Devonn Allen '22 buried home a dagger from beyond the arc, giving the home side a five point lead with five minutes remaining.
Sinking four consecutive free-throws, Hamilton cut the lead to four but a layup from Che and a jumpshot from Robinson kept the Continentals at bay, leading to the Mammoths third NESCAC win.
Improving their three-point field-goal percentage from the first half (16.7%), Amherst shot 50% from the floor and from deep to go along with a 42-28 advantage in rebounds to end the afternoon.
Gilmour led Hamilton with a game-high 26 points on 10-of-21 (47.6%) shooting, while Sayo Denloye added four rebounds and four assists to go along with one steal. The Continentals shot 46.6% from the floor and 26.3% from three, while Amherst won the bench battle 25-20.
Amherst has a three-day break before taking the floor again in LeFrak on Wednesday, Jan. 25h at 7:00 p.m. for their final non-conference bout (Salem State). Hamilton has a quick turnaround, also competing in a non-conference showdown when they face SUNY Polytechnic tomorrow at 5:00 p.m.