|Amherst Punishes Williams in Second Half for Win|
Amherst Punishes Williams in Second Half for Win
By Alex Kantor
January 20, 2007
AMHERST, MA – The Amherst College men’s basketball team put forth a solid second-half effort to sail past NESCAC and Little Three archrival Williams College this evening 72-51. The Ephs hung tough in the first half, and were trailing by only three points heading into halftime, but a fiery Amherst second half sealed the game for the Lord Jeffs' 17th win.
The second-ranked Amherst squad put forth a strong offensive effort in the first half, shooting just shy of 50% from the floor and three-point range, but Williams was able to keep the game within a possession throughout the first 13 minutes. The turning point in the half came when junior Fletcher Walters (Ann Arbor, MI) missed a jumper, but grabbed his own rebound and laid it up and in before hitting the floor.
The nice ally-oop finish by Walters sparked Lord Jeff Nation, and the team itself, as Amherst went on a scoring run over the next two minutes, highlighted by a Walters steal and a long pass from junior point guard Andrew Olson (San Diego, CA) to a streaking Kevin Hopkins (Greenfield Center, NY) for an easy bucket. Walters capped the scoring spurt with a beautiful three-pointer to give Amherst a 33-23 lead with 4:04 left in the half.
The final four minutes saw the Ephs make a push of their own, outscoring the Amherst squad 10-3 to close the half, riding a solid finish to the half by Blake Schultz (Atherton, CA) and Chris Rose (Middletown, NY), who each buried threes.
The game looked very familiar to the rivaled fans, as Amherst headed to the locker room up three points, the same margin as the first meeting between the two teams a few weeks ago. That Jan. 6, 2007 game saw Amherst turn up the heat on Williams in the second half, eventually leading to a 19-point win.
The experienced Amherst side returned to the floor of LeFrak Gymnasium with a renewed dedication on defense, blocking a number of shots and getting a hand in the face of the Williams shooters. Williams shot almost 50% from beyond the arc in the first half, but the Lord Jeffs held their archrivals to an icy 0-for-8 performance from three-point range in the second half, for just 18 points.
Leading the charge for Amherst on offense was the duo of senior quad-captains Tim McLaughlin (Chatham, NJ) and Dan Wheeler (Bloomington, MN), who dropped 19 and 14 points, respectively, while McLaughlin was just one board shy of a double-double. Olson narrowly missed a double-double of his own, dishing out 11 assists, but scoring just 9 points.
The Williams trio of Rose, Schultz and junior Chris Shalvoy (Rochester, NY) combined for 35 points and 18 rebounds, while the rest of the Williams team managed just 16 points. The Amherst bench outscored the Williams reserves 16-4, and held an 18-4 advantage on points off of turnovers.
The win extends the Amherst winning streak to 17 games, while dropping the Ephs to 8-9 on the year. The Lord Jeffs return to action Tuesday for a non-conference match-up with Southern Vermont College. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m. at LeFrak Gymnasium.
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