Matt Goldsmith '08
Photo by Erik Andrews '09
Sophomore Matt Goldsmith secured Occidental Holiday Classic All-Tournament honors after leading the Jeffs with 14 points on Tuesday night.

Fourth-Ranked Jeffs Suffer First Loss, Fall at Occidental, 73-68

January 3, 2006

LOS ANGELES, CA - The fourth-ranked Amherst College men's basketball team suffered its first loss of the season on Tuesday night, falling at Occidental College in the championship game of the Occidental Holiday Classic, 73-68. Sophomore Matt Goldsmith (Morristown, NJ) earned all-tournament honors shooting a perfect five-for-five from the floor for a team-high 14 points as the Jeffs fell to 8-1, while Occidental improved to 9-1.

The Tigers came out firing, connecting on 42.3% (11-for-26) of their first-half shots, while Amherst struggled from the field, knocking down just 28.0% (seven-for-25) from the floor, including a two-for-10 performance from behind the arc. Occidental led by as many as 10 points in the opening frame, but a three-pointer from sophomore point guard Andrew Olson (San Diego, CA) with just five seconds left in the half knifed the lead back to six, 29-23.

The Jeffs' offense woke up after the break, cashing in on 53.3% (16-for-30) of its second-half field goal attempts, including five-of-10 from three-point land. They chipped away at the Tiger's advantage and finally took the lead for the first time since the opening minutes on a Goldsmith jumper at the 8:30-mark. Goldsmith led the second-half comeback, netting 11 of his points in the second stanza, while fellow all-tournament honoree John Bedford (Ridgewood, NJ) scored all nine of his points after the break as well. Amherst knotted the score four times over the next 2:25, but couldn't grab a firm hold on the lead and Occidental was able to regain the upper hand and hold on for the win.

Joining Goldsmith in double-figures for Amherst were Olson and fellow sophomore Kevin Hopkins (Saratoga Springs, NY) with 11 apiece. Olson also dished out five assists, while Hopkins pulled down five boards. Junior Dan O'Shea (Lawrence, MA) paced the Jeffs on the glass with six rebounds.

Sam Betty was a force for the Tigers tallying 30 points and 10 rebounds, while Zach Phillips posted a double-double as well with 16 points and 12 boards.

Amherst returns to action on Saturday at 2 p.m. for a non-conference matchup with NESCAC and Little Three archrival Williams College.

BOX SCORE/PLAY-BY-PLAY