Defense Leads Men's Hoops to Rout of Williams
15-0 second-half run blows game open as Jeffs roll to 72-54 victory

    AMHERST, Mass. - Amherst junior Erik Kelly (Staples, MN) scored all 12 of his points in the second half, including nine during a 15-0 run that broke a 40-40 tie as the Jeffs would cruise past arch-rival Williams College, 72-54, in front of an over-capacity crowd Saturday night at LeFrak Gymnasium.
    Thanks to 14 points from senior Co-captain Chris Smith (Swarthmore, PA), the Jeffs took a 35-31 lead to halftime, including a scalding 14/26 (53.8%) shooting performance from the field. But the Ephs battled back to knot the game at 40 early in the second half behind the junior forwards duo of Joe Weiss (Washington, DC) and Manny Benjamin (Harare, Zimbabwe). The Ephs had two chances to take the lead, but the Amherst defense began to clamp down, and the Jeff shooters became red-hot. The Jeffs forced turnovers on seven of the Ephs' next 10 possessions, holding the Ephs scoreless for over seven minutes. A Kelly three-pointer capped the dramatic run at 55-40 before a lay-in from Eph senior Co-captain Sean Keenan (Rutland, VT) finally stopped the bleeding, but it was too little, too late, and the Jeffs never looked back. The Ephs only shot 32% from the field in the second half, and a paltry 38% from the charity stripe, while Amherst shot 50.8% from the field for the game. The Jeffs led by as much as 24 (72-48), before the Ephs scored six points in the final minute to close the scoring.
    Smith scored a game-high 18 points for the Jeffs, while Kelly added six assists and six steals. Junior Brian Daoust (Dover, MA) chipped in 12 more for Amherst, and senior Co-captain Hugh Quattlebaum (Andover, MA) had a strong all-around game with 11 points, five boards and four assists. Kelly, who finished five for 12 from the field, added career-highs in assists (six) and steals (six) to his sharp-shooting performance. As a team, the Jeffs shot over 50 percent for the game (30-59), including a 6-16 performance from behind the three-point line. Williams only had two players in double figures, with Weiss leading the way with 14 points and Benjamin contributing 10 points and 11 rebounds. Senior Williams Co-captain Jim Sheehy (Syosset, NY) was held well below his season averages, with only seven points and three assists in 35 minutes as Williams scored the fewest points by an Amherst opponent since January 7, 1997, when Johnson and Wales scored 47 in a 125-47 Amherst rout. The 54 points by the Ephs was their lowest offensive output since a 58-54 loss to Middlebury College on February 14, 1996.
    The Amherst senior class has never lost to Williams at home in their career, and the Jeffs now have a three-game winning streak over their arch-rivals, as the Jeffs improve to 69-103 all-time against Williams. Amherst moves to 8-3 overall with the win, and next plays Tuesday night at home against Wesleyan, a team the Jeffs defeated 84-65 last Wednesday. The Jeffs can capture at least a share of their second straight Little III title with a win on Tuesday. The Ephs drop to 7-2 on the year, and are next in action Tuesday night at Hamilton College, a 7:30 p.m. start.


Saturday, January 15 at Amherst, Massachusetts

Williams (7-2)

31

23

--

54
Amherst (8-3)

35

37

--

72

Williams (54) Weiss 5-11 0-0 14, Benjamin 4-11 2-6 10, Conley 4-6 0-1 8, Sheehy 2-4 2-2 7, Dickens 3-5 0-0 7, Keenan 1-7 1-4 3, Hassell 1-2 0-0 2, Folan 1-4 0-0 2, Conforti 0-0 1-2 1, Seward 0-2 0-0 0, TOTALS 21-54 6-15 54

Amherst (72) Smith 8-12 0-0 18, Daoust 3-11 4-6 12, Kelly 5-12 1-1 12, Quattlebaum 5-8 1-2 11, Zieja 3-4 0-0 7, Collins 3-5 0-0 6, Fitzsimons 2-3 0-0 4, Sexson 1-1 0-0 2, Faulkner 0-1 0-0 0, Proctor 0-1 0-0 0, Taverna 0-1 0-0 0, Jenkins 0-0 0-0 0, Williams 0-0 0-0 0, TOTALS 30-59 6-9 72

3-point goals - Williams 6-14 (Weiss 4-8, Sheehy 1-1, Dickens 1-1, Keenan 0-1, Conley 0-1, Seward 0-2) Amherst 6-16 (Smith 2-2, Daoust 2-7, Kelly 1-5, Faulkner 0-1). Fouled out - None. Rebounds - Williams 32 (Benjamin 11), Amherst 40 (Collins 10). Assists - Williams 12 (Conley 4), Amherst 20 (Kelly 6). Total fouls - Williams 13, Amherst 17. Technicals - None. Attendance - 1750.


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