Andrew Olson '08
Sophomore point guard Andrew Olson tallied career-highs of 18 points and 12 assists on Friday night.

Olson Guides Fourth-Ranked Jeffs to 80-74 Pioneer Valley Classic Victory Over Springfield

Bedford Notches 1,000th Career Point

December 2, 2005

SPRINGFIELD, MA - Sophomore point guard Andrew Olson (San Diego, CA) posted a career-high 18 points, a tournament-record 12 assists and five rebounds to lead the fourth-ranked Amherst College men's basketball team to a 80-74 Pioneer Valley Classic (PVC) victory over Springfield College on Friday night at Western New England College (WNEC). With the win, the Jeffs remain undefeated on the season (3-0) and in PVC history (9-0), while Springfield fell to 1-4 on the year.

Amherst senior co-captain John Bedford (Ridgewood, NJ) wasted no time in notching his 1,000th career point as he grabbed an offensive rebound and put it back for the game-opening score. Olson had a hand in the Jeffs' next three buckets, feeding junior Dan O'Shea (Lawrence, MA) for a layup and senior co-captain John Casnocha (San Francisco, CA) for a triple from the left corner, and then drilling a pull-up jumper to give Amherst a 9-2 edge in the first three minutes.

The Jeffs' transition game would continue to dominate the first half as Olson led a fast-break onslaught that stretched the lead to as many as 20 points, 40-20, en route to 10 assists, tying the PVC record for assists in a game.

Springfield senior Pre-Season All-America Derek Yvon (East Longmeadow, MA) cashed in a pair of buckets down the stretch to solidify a 10-point, first-half performance and cut the Amherst advantage to 16 at the break, 44-28.

Neither squad would add anything to the board for the first 2:16 of the second session, but Yvon would end the drought, cashing in an and-one opportunity to spark a 7-0 Springfield run to open the half.

Bedford ended the Jeffs' scoring woes with a slashing layup, and converted a three-point play at the free-throw line to stall the rally, but a deep three from Pride senior Jim Mack (Westfield, MA) and two straight buckets from sophomore Gregg Daly (Farmington, CT) trimmed the lead to just three, 47-44, at the 13:43-mark. Trifectas from Olson and junior teammate Dan Wheeler (Bloomington, MN) allowed the Jeffs to hold on to a slight edge, and Olson later sparked an 8-0 Amherst run, to push the lead back out to 12, 73-61, with 5:43 remaining in regulation.

Springfield wouldn't let the Jeffs pull away, answering with 11 straight and bringing the Pride as close as they'd been since the opening tip, 73-72 with just under three minutes to play.

Amherst sophomore Matt Goldsmith (Morristown, NJ) ended the run, knifing through the lane from the right wing for the three-point play, and after a pair of quick turnovers and a missed Yvon three-pointer, the Jeffs would grind down the clock on the strength of a key offensive rebound by Bedford.

After finally securing a defensive rebound, Springfield would cut the lead to two on a layup from junior Damien Farley (Natick, MA) with just 31 ticks left on the clock, but free throws from Casnocha and Goldsmith iced the game down the stretch for the Jeffs.

Wheeler and Bedford joined Olson in double-figures with 11 and 10 points, respectively, while Wheeler added a team-high six rebounds and Bedford chipped in five boards, two assists and a pair of steals. Casnocha and Goldsmith tallied nine points apiece.

Yvon finished with a game-high 18 points to pace Springfield, while fellow senior Mike DeCesar (Acton, MA) registered 15 points and eight rebounds. Junior point guard Anthony Pizzo (Clifton Park, NY) contributed six points and eight assists as well.

Amherst returns to action tomorrow (Saturday) at 2 p.m. against Westfield State College in day two of the PVC hosted by WNEC.