Andrew Olson '08
Junior point guard Andrew Olson set an Amherst single game record with 15 assists against Elms.

Jeffs Match Best Start In Program History; Olson Sets Assist Single Game Record

By Alex Kantor

January 16, 2007

AMHERST, MA - With their 103-69 blowout win over visiting Elms College, the Amherst College men's basketball team matched the best start in program history at 15-0. Leading the way for Amherst was junior point guard Andrew Olson (San Diego, CA) who dished out a career-high 15 assists and senior quad-captain Dan Wheeler (Bloomington, MN) who netted 19 points.

The Lord Jeffs jumped out of the locker room at a blazing pace, running up a 10-point lead in less than five minutes of play, riding the shoulders of junior starting center Kevin Hopkins (Greenfield Center, NY). Five times during the first minutes, Hopkins beat everyone down the floor, leading to easy lay-ups and 10 early points.

Reigning NESCAC Player of the Week Brian Baskauskas (Palo Alto, CA) started off his night hitting a number of beautiful three-point jump shots, on his way to racking up 16 points, on 5-6 shooting from behind the arc. Baskauskas would play 22 minutes on the night without ever attempting a field goal inside the three-point line.

Olson pushed the tempo of the Amherst offense throughout the first half, trying to put the game out of reach early, knowing that the electric Elms offense could fill up the hoop in a hurry at any moment. Just seven minutes into the game, Olson had already reached his season average of 7 assists-per-game.

With the game being seemingly out of reach so early in the game, head coach Dave Hixon was able to get some rest for his starters and valuable experience for deserving younger players. Coming off the bench early for Amherst were Brandon Jones (Hopatcong, NJ) and Fletcher Walters (Ann Arbor, MI).

Jones played solid in the post for Amherst, giving the Elms Blazers no break when the 6’10” Hopkins headed to the bench. Jones punished the Elms interior for 14 points, besting his career scoring mark for the fifth time this season. Walters provided a much needed inside-outside threat for the group coming off the bench, as he was able to drop home 7 points, taking the ball hard to the rim on a number of possessions.

When the first half closed Amherst finished the period shooting a mind-blowing 66.7% from behind the arc, converting on 10-of-15 long distance shots, and an equally impressive 67.6% overall mark.
The second half provided more of the same highlights from the Amherst team, including two standout plays by starters to fire up the crowd. Just five minutes into the half, Wheeler buried a three from the top of the key while being fouled. Wheeler gathered himself, and knocked down the free throw to convert the rare 4-point play.

The second highlight reel score of the half came with 12:53 in remaining in the game, as Olson launched a 40-foot lob cross-court to a streaking Hopkins who finished the back-end of the ally-oop with his typical flair. The Elms defender who went up with Hopkins could do nothing to prevent the amazing play.

Hopkins finished the night as the fourth Amherst player in double-digits with 18 points. Leading the charge for the Blazers was senior John Ancrum who finished with 16 points on 60% shooting, while classmate David Williams chipped in 14 points of his own.

Olson not only upped his career assist mark, but set a new Amherst College single-game record in the process, snapping the previous mark which had held for seventeen years.

The second-ranked Lord Jeffs return to the court this Friday night at 7 p.m. when they face Middlebury College in NESCAC action at LeFrak Gymnasium.