(photos by Rob Mattson, Amherst College)
AMHERST, Mass. – Connor Green '16 scored 10 of his season-high 30 points in overtime to help secure the Amherst College men's basketball team's comeback win over NESCAC and Little Three archrival Williams College Wednesday night in LeFrak Gymnasium, 86-76.
Trailing for most of the second half, a three-point play by Reid Berman '17 with 1:48 to play in regulation shifted the momentum in the Jeffs' favor as they pulled off the thrilling non-conference win to improve to 12-4 overall. The Ephs won in similar dramatic fashion on Jan. 10 with a late three-pointer, but were unable to hold off Amherst's late rally Wednesday night as they drop to 11-6 overall.
In addition to his clutch overtime performance, Green also recorded a double-double as he registered game-highs of 30 points and 11 rebounds. He was 8-for-10 from the foul line and 5-for-5 in overtime. He scored 10 of the team's 12 points in OT, and assisted on a David George '18 lay-up. George was a force down low all game and finished with five blocks, while racking up 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting. Joining Green and George in double-digits were Jacob Nabatoff '17 and Michael Riopel '18 with 10 each, while pulling in seven and five rebounds, respectively. Riopel provided a late spark off the bench for Amherst with eight of his 10 points coming in the second half as he went 3-for-5 from the floor and 2-for-4 from downtown. Reid Berman '17 had a terrific game from the point guard position as well and dished out a career-high nine assists while scoring seven points.
Williams was lights out from behind-the-arc for most of the game and were led by Daniel Wohl and Daniel Aronowitz. Wohl finished with 24 points, nine rebounds and three assists, and went 3-for-7 from three-point range. Aronowitz added 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting from the foul line and grabbed seven boards while connecting on 3-for-6 three-pointers. Ryan Kilcullen added 14 points and went 6-of-10 from the floor, and Mike Greenman dished out a team-high five assists, scored eight points and grabbed eight rebounds.
Amherst came out hot to start the game in front of a full house in LeFrak Gymnasium as a three-pointer by Nabatoff followed by a foul shot from Green gave the home team a 13-6 lead within 4:23 of play. However, the Ephs slowly cut into the deficit with a couple three-pointers of their own as they took their first lead of the game at the 10:49 mark, 18-17.
The first half featured four ties and five lead changes, and after a three-pointer by Jeff Racy '17 in the closing minutes knotted the game at 32-32, two treys from Williams at the 2:01 and 1:16 marks from Kilcullen and Cole Teal, respectively, put the visitor's ahead at the break, 38-35.
The Ephs continued to shoot well from downtown early in the second half and consecutive three's from Aronowitz and Greenman within one minute of each other gave Williams its largest lead of the game at that point, up 50-42 with 15:35 to play in regulation. However, trailing by nine with 9:20 remaining, the Jeffs rallied with a 19-9 run in under eight minutes, capped off by Berman's three-point play as Amherst took its first lead since the 9:25 mark in the first half.
On their next possession, Aronowitz hit both free throws to put the Ephs back up but a lay-up by George followed by another lay-up from Berman gave the home team a 74-71 advantage with 34 seconds remaining. Williams would not go away easily as Aronowitz knotted the game just seconds later to send the game into overtime.
Despite the late three by the Ephs, Amherst's second half rally shifted the momentum in their favor, and with the raucous home crowd behind them, they cruised in the final five minutes as Green helped lead the Purple & White to the win. They outscored the Ephs 12-2 in overtime.
As a team, the Jeffs shot 30-of-67 (44.8%) from the floor, 10-of-24 (41.7%) from downtown and 16-of-23 (69.6%) from the charity stripe. Williams went 25-of-66 (37.9%) from the floor, 11-of-27 (40.7%) from behind-the-arc and 15-of-19 (78.9%) from the line. Amherst also edged the Ephs in rebounding, 43-41.
The Jeffs return to the court Saturday, Jan. 24 and will host Trinity at 3 p.m.