Tim McLaughlin '07
Photo by Jeff Brown
Junior Tim McLaughlin was a defensive menace on Friday night, blocking five shots and pilfering a pair of steals.

Ninth-Ranked Jeffs Bomb Bates, 88-52

February 10, 2006

AMHERST, MA – The ninth-ranked Amherst College men’s basketball team clinched a first-round home game in next weekend’s NESCAC Postseason Tournament with a 88-52 bombing of visiting conference rival Bates College on Friday night. Amherst junior Dan Wheeler (Bloomington, MN) led all scorers with 21 points on 80.0% (eight-for-10) shooting from the floor, including a trio of trifectas, as the Jeffs improved to 21-2 overall and 7-1 in NESCAC play, while Bates fell to 19-4 (6-2 NESCAC).

With the win, Amherst secured the top spot in the conference standings as Tufts University toppled host Trinity College in overtime, 84-80. This means tomorrow’s contest against the visiting Jumbos, scheduled for 3 p.m, has the No. 1 seed in the NESCAC Postseason Tournament at stake.

The Jeffs’ defensive performance was outstanding, limiting Bates to just 32.7% (17-for-52) from the floor, blocking 11 shots and pilfering 11 steals. Junior Tim McLaughlin (Chatham, NJ) was a menace, rejecting five shots – all in the first half – and snatching a pair of steals, while senior co-captain John Bedford (Ridgewood, NJ) and sophomore Fletcher Walters (Ann Arbor, MI) had three steals apiece, Walters’ coming in just six minutes of play. Amherst dominated the glass as well, outrebounding the Bobcats 48-23, including an outstanding 31-13 advantage on the defensive end.

Meanwhile, the Jeffs’ first-half offense was no slouch, controlling the tempo from the opening tip and pouring in 70.8% (17-for-24) of their attempts from the field. The Jeffs inflicted several two- and three-minute scoring droughts on the Bobcats, while Amherst continually poured in shots, running their lead to double digits after just 7:40 of play and as high as 24 in the frame. Bedford went into the break with 14 points, Wheeler had 13 and sophomore playmaker Andrew Olson (San Diego, CA) tallied eight points and five assists.

If the gap weren’t wide enough, Amherst’s shooting touch stayed soggy after the half, knocking down shot after shot and pushing the lead out to 30 points in the first seven minutes. A three ball from Olson at the 12:43-mark gave Amherst a 31-point edge and Bates would come no closer the rest of the way. The Jeffs’ bench was impressive down the stretch, maintaining the vast advantage through the final horn.

Bedford finished with 16 points, three assists and three boards, while Olson capped his total at 13 points. Junior center Dan O’Shea (Lawrence, MA) led the rebounding effort, hauling in a career-high 10 boards, and sophomore Matt Goldsmith (Morristown, NJ) added six points and six caroms.

Sophomore Brian Wholey (Marshfield, MA) led Bates with 13 points, while junior point guard Zak Ray (Bangor, ME) added 12 points and classmate Rob Stockwell (Temple, NH), who entered the contest ranked seventh in the league in scoring and second in rebounding, was limited to just 10 points and three rebounds.