Kevin Hopkins '08
Junior Kevin Hopkins ignited the Amherst crowd, finishing with 16 points and four blocks

Amherst Cruises to 91-49 Victory over Conn. College

By Justin Long

February 2, 2007

AMHERST, MA – The Amherst College men’s basketball team put on a show for the Lord Jeff faithful, taking a 52-24 lead over visiting Conn. College into halftime and cruising to a 91-49 victory to improve to 22-0 (7-0 NESCAC) on the season. The loss drops the Camels to 11-10 (1-5 NESCAC).

The Camels entered the game with some tough losses under their belts, as eight of their nine losses had been by seven points or less, four of which were by no more than three points. It looked like the visitors were headed for another close game, leading Amherst 13-11 after six minutes of play, but senior quad-captain Tim McLaughlin (Chatham, NJ) knocked down his second three-pointer of the game to ignite a 14-2 run and give the Jeffs a lead they would never surrender. The run was capped off by a pair of emphatic dunks from junior Kevin Hopkins (Greenfield Center, NY), causing Lord Jeff Nation to erupt as Amherst took a 25-15 lead.

Amherst led by just seven points with seven minutes remaining in the half, but went on a 24-3 tear before heading into the locker room. Brian Baskauskas (Palo Alto, CA) accounted for seven of the Jeffs’ points in the final seven minutes, as the sophomore knocked down all three of his field goal attempts, which included a jumper that fell through the net as time expired.

McLaughlin was unstoppable in the first 20 minutes, connecting on all four of his three-point attempts to finish the half with 12 points and a pair of steals. Baskauskas was just as impressive in the half, finishing with 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting to lead Amherst to an impressive 70% field goal percentage. Junior Fletcher Walters (Ann Arbor, MI) was the third Jeff in double figures by halftime, chipping in 10 points in just nine minutes of action.

Amherst’s starters gradually filtered out of the game in the second half, making way for the bench players to pick up some valuable minutes. The final points from the usual scorers came with 7:21 remaining in the game, when Hopkins brought the crowd to its feet once again on a forceful dunk, only this time turning it into a three-point play after drawing the foul and knocking down his free throw.

The bench got involved with the scoring when sophomore Marcus Bradley (Latham, NY) knocked down a three to give Amherst an 80-37 lead, followed by first-year Steve Wheeler (Bloomington, MN) connecting for a three of his own to bring the Amherst lead back to 43 points with 5:11 on the clock. Wheeler added four more points in the final five minutes, while sophomore Mike Holsey (Potomac, MD) and first-year DJ Carcieri (Narragansett, RI) each added a pair of points with lay-ups, as the Jeffs closed out the game leading 91-49.  

Baskauskas led Amherst with 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting, including 3-for-5 from long range. Hopkins finished with 16 points on 8-of-9 shooting, adding four blocks in just 17 minutes of action. Senior quad-captain Dan Wheeler (Bloomington, MN) added 13 points, with Walters and McLaughlin each finishing with 12 to round out the Jeffs in double figures.

Leading all scorers was junior Charles Stone, who finished with 18 points on 8-of-14 shooting, adding five rebounds and four assists. The Camels shot 44% from the floor in the first half, but just 28% in the second frame, which was not good enough to keep up with Amherst’s 59% overall performance.

The Lord Jeffs return to action Saturday for a NESCAC match-up with Little Three rival Wesleyan University. The game is set for 2 p.m. at LeFrak Gymnasium, and will feature an honoring of the Amherst seniors before tip-off.