PAXTON, Mass. – Trailing by 14 in the second half, the second-ranked Amherst College men's basketball team went on an 18-0 run to pull off a come-from-behind road win over Anna Maria College in the 2014-15 season-opener Tuesday night.
The Jeffs overcame the second halftime deficit to outscore the Amcats, 38-29, in the final 20 minutes of regulation as they open the year with a 1-0 mark. With the loss, Anna Maria falls to 1-2 on the season.
Five Jeffs scored double-digits led by Johnny McCarthy '18, who put up 17 points in his first collegiate game. Sophomore guard Jeff Racy added 12, while Connor Green '16, Reid Berman '17 and David George '17 each scored 11. Berman went 4-for-5 from the field with a game-high six assists, while sophomore forward Jacob Nabatoff grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds.
Anna Maria was led by Quantez Franklin, Hugh Daye and Trevon Farley. Franklin scored a game-high 21 points on 10-of-14 shooting with eight rebounds. Daye added 16 points, and Farley posted a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Tuesday night's game went back-and-forth early in the opening minutes. Amherst went on a 6-0 run capped off by a pair of free throws by George to put the visitors ahead by four. However, the Amcats responded with a six-point stretch of their own to regain the lead, 8-6.
Trailing by two, the Jeffs scored eight-straight to take a 14-8 advantage. Just four minutes later they increased the lead to seven, their largest of the half, as Jeff Racy '17 hit one from behind-the-arc. Over the next couple minutes, Anna Maria slowly cut into the deficit and tied the game at 30-30 with 3:38 remaining before the break.
Shortly after, George tipped in a Green miss as Amherst went ahead, 36-32. However, a lay-up by Franklin followed by consecutive baskets from Farley gave the home team a 38-36 lead at halftime.
The Amcats carried that momentum into the second half. Tied at 40-40, Anna Maria scored 16 of the next 18 points to take their largest lead of the game, up 56-42. Amherst, however, remained resilient and responded with a run of its own. Trailing by 14, a Berman layup at the 11:26 mark sparked an 18-0 Amherst run.
With roughly six minutes remaining in regulation, McCarthy's layup gave the visitor's their first lead since the 1:41 mark of the first half. Going ahead, 60-56, a pair of free throws by Farley eventually ended the Jeffs' hot streak as they would tie it up at 62-62 less than a minute later.
Amherst took a 69-67 advantage with 1:38 to go and closed out the game with five foul shots down the stretch. McCarthy hit a pair and Berman hit the first of his two before grabbing the offensive rebound on his second attempt. He found Racy who went to the line and hit 1-of-2 as Amherst held on for the 74-67 win.
Amherst shot 31.6% (6-of-19) from downtown and out-rebounded the Amcats, 48-to-34. The Jeffs' bench also outscored Anna Maria, 30-to-17, but the home team took advantage of Amherst's turnovers as they scored 16 fast break points.
The Jeffs return to the court this weekend to host the annual Ken Wright Invitational at LeFrak Gymnasium. Amherst will matchup against Johnson State Friday, Nov. 21 at 6 p.m.