Adolphe Coulibaly '08
Photo by Sam Masinter '04
Sophomore Adolphe Coulibaly had a key eight-point spurt in the first-half for Amherst.

Eighth-Ranked Jeffs Drop 88-85 Overtime Heartbreaker to Trinity

January 14, 2006

AMHERST, MA – The eighth-ranked Amherst College men’s basketball team dropped an 88-85 overtime heartbreaker to visiting NESCAC rival Trinity College in both team’s conference openers on Saturday. Junior forward Michael Hoar (Pembroke, MA) hit a pair of huge shots down the stretch for the Bantams as they improve to 11-3, while Amherst fell to 10-2.

Hoar gave Trinity a two-point edge with just 30 seconds left in regulation with a jumper from just inside the arc. The Jeffs replied with a pair of clutch free throws from senior co-captain John Bedford (Ridgewood, NJ) and a last second shot from Trinity senior Tyler Rhoten (Ridgewood, NJ) rimmed out to send it to overtime. Hoar stepped up again in the extra frame, draining a three to give the Bantams a one-point lead, 86-85, and Amherst was unable to answer in the final minute.

The Bantams stormed out of the gate, hitting 12 of their first 13 shots from the field, including back-to-back threes from Rhoten and junior Patrick Martin (Springfield, MA), and leading by as many as nine early. Amherst hung tough and finally managed an 11-2 run of its own near the midway point of the half to knot the count at 26-26. Bedford sparked the run with a pair of layups, an offensive putback and a dime to junior Dan Wheeler (Bloomington, MN) for an and-one finish.

Both squads battled throughout the rest of the half as Amherst sophomore Adolphe Coulibaly (Abidjan, Ivory Coast) poured in eight quick points to put the Jeffs up by six, 41-35. However, Hoar drained a three and junior guard Kino Clarke (Brooklyn, NY) grabbed an offensive rebound and floated in a jumper in the waning seconds to pull Trinity within one at the break, 41-40.

It was all Amherst early in the second session as the Jeffs stretched their advantage out to as many as 15, 67-52, in the first nine minutes. The Jeffs were dripping wet from the outside, nailing nine of their first 11 shots, including four trifectas. Bedford was instrumental in the spurt, tallying nine points, including a deep three and a coast-to-coast layup after picking Rhoten’s pocket under the bucket. Unfortunately for Amherst, the well ran dry and the Jeffs missed seven consecutive three-point tries, allowing Trinity to get back into the game. A 15-0 run by the Bantams pulled them even at 67-67 at the 5:12-mark and then held a slight lead down the stretch. Senior co-captain John Casnocha (San Francisco, CA) knotted the score at 76-76 with one minute remaining with a three before Hoar’s jumper and Bedford’s charity tosses to end regulation.

After taking only three free throws in the game, none in the first half, Trinity scored every point aside from Hoar’s game-winning three at the charity stripe. Bedford and Casnocha had all the Jeffs’ points in the extra time.

Bedford had a big game, finishing with 24 points, eight boards and six assists, while Casnocha and Wheeler also notched double-figures at 16 and 15, respectively. Rhoten scored a game-high 28 points along with six rebounds and five assists. Clarke tallied 16 points, while Martin added 15 points and seven assists and Hoar chipped in 12 points.

Amherst returns to action Tuesday at 8 p.m. in non-conference action at Elms College.