MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Connor Green '16 netted a team-high 15 points, and Jeff Racy '17 connected on 3-of-4 from beyond-the-arc, but the third-ranked Amherst College men's basketball team fell to Rhodes College, 76-69 in Sunday afternoon's New Year Classic contest at Mallory Gymnasium in Memphis, Tenn.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Rhodes held Amherst to a season-low in both points (69) and field goal percentage (44.4), and outscored the visitors, 40-29 in the second half to erase a four-point halftime deficit.
- Green (15 points) and Racy (14 points) led the visitors, while Eric Conklin '17 and Johnny McCarthy '18 followed with 12 and 10 points respectively, as four Purple & White players finished with double-digit scoring totals.
- McCarthy led Amherst with nine boards, while Racy followed with six. Jayde Dawson '18 dished out six helpers and added three steals, while David George '17 provided three blocks in the losing effort.
- Rhodes's Brennan Sullivan led all players with 17 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the floor, including 4-for-4 from long distance. Daniel Galvin added 14 points and seven rebounds, while Tyler Gee added a double-double with 11 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. Daniel Darst chipped in 12 points to give the Lynx four players in double figures.
- The hosts finished with a 48.2 shooting percentage, and made 9-of-16 (56.3%) from beyond-the-arc. Amherst held a 40-32 advantage in points in the paint, while Rhodes edged the Purple & White in points off turnovers (15-14), second chance points (14-12), and points off the bench (22-20).
FIRST HALF HIGHLIGHTS
- Rhodes scored the first basket of the game 26 seconds into the contest as Galvin converted a layup to give the Lynx an early 2-0 lead. A bucket in the paint by George sparked a 7-0 run by Amherst to give the visitors a 7-2 lead, highlighted by a trey from Racy.
- Amherst, maintained its lead for most of the stanza and led by as many as eight points (25-17) following a layup by Green at the 10:17 mark.
- A three-pointer by J.J. Weir with 6:59 to play gave Rhodes a 28-27 lead, and a free throw by Andrew Lowrie put the hosts up by two (29-27) before Michael Riopel '18 delivered a bucket underneath for the Purple & White to tie the score at 29-29. Amherst was able to close out the half scoring 11 of the next 18 points en route to a 40-36 lead at intermission.
SECOND HALF HIGHLIGHTS
- In the second half, Galvin converted a basket underneath to pull Rhodes to within two, and from there the Lynx remained within striking distance as the Purple & White were not able to maintain more than a five-point lead (47-42) when McCarthy powered in a layup at the 15:04 mark.
- With 9:53 to play in the contest, Galvin drained a three-pointer to level the game at 56-56. Just over a minute later, Darst gave Rhodes a 58-56 lead – its first advantage of the second period.
- With 5:07 on the clock and leading by three (63-60), Sullivan made a three-pointer to give the Lynx a six-point edge. Racy answered for Amherst with a trey of his own with 4:21 to play, but Sullivan struck once more from long distance to set the score at 69-63 with 4:03 remaining in regulation.
- Trailing 71-64 with 1:41 to play, McCarthy canned a three-pointer to pull Amherst to within four at 71-67, but that's as close as the Purple & White could get as Gee made a layup, and Brennan swished a pair from the charity stripe to push the lead back to eight (75-67) with one minute on the clock, as the Lynx held on for the 76-69 win.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
- The loss is just the first of the season for Amherst which had its best start to a campaign since the 2010-11 season when it won its first 21 games.
- Amherst returns to the hardwood Tuesday, January 5 when it hosts Eastern Connecticut State University at 7 p.m. at LeFrak Gymnasium in non-conference play.
- Rhodes will take on Centre College at 8 p.m. on Friday, January 8 in Danville, Ky.