Senior quad-captain Tim McLaughlin led all scorers with 19 points.

Jeffs Move to 5-0 with 91-52 Win Over Springfield

December 2, 2006

AMHERST, MA –  The Amherst College men’s basketball team moved to 5-0 on the season with a win against the Springfield College Pride in day two of the sixth annual Pioneer Valley Classic. The Western New England College Golden Bears also won their day two game with an overtime win over cross-town rival Westfield State College.

In the second game of the day, Amherst got off to a fast start to take an early 10-2 lead after four minutes of play. A three-point play by junior Jamaal Gibbs (Norwalk, CT) cut the lead to six with 6:45 remaining in the first half, but Amherst went on an 11-0 run highlighted by a pair of steals by senior quad-captain Tim McLaughlin (Chatham, NJ) that placed the momentum in the hands of the Lord Jeffs. Amherst shot 58.1% from the floor in the half, closing out the first frame with a 17-point lead, 43-26. McLaughlin led all scorers in the first half with 12 points on six-of-ten shooting, adding three rebounds, four assists and three steals in the frame.

The Pride began the second half with some tough man-to-man defense, but Amherst responded with several backdoor cuts for lay-ups to maintain the large lead. The Lord Jeffs dominated the later portions of the game, extending their lead above forty points for the last few minutes.

When the final whistle blew, McLaughlin led all scorers with 19 points, six assists and four steals.  Senior quad-captain Dan Wheeler (Bloomington, MN) dropped 15 points and pulled down 9 boards, four of which were on the offensive end. The win was again an all-around team effort as 15 members of the team saw significant action.

The Lord Jeffs got their fifth win, while the Pride fell to 2-4. Amherst returns to action Thursday, December 7 when it travels to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for a non-conference match-up. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.

In Saturday’s first game, Westfield State and Western New England proved to be evenly matched throughout the first half, with the Golden Bears holding a slight 38-34 edge over the Owls. Racking up nearly half of his team’s points in the first half, junior Jim Bayne (Bristol, CT) led all scorers in the first frame with 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting, adding four rebounds.  The Golden Bears shot well in the first half at 57.1% but struggled at the free throw line, hitting only five of ten free throw attempts.

Westfield State came out strong in the second half and quickly overtook the lead, but the Golden Bears would not lose their composure, battling with the Owls and trading lead changes for most of the half. With four minutes remaining in regulation, Western New England clung to a five-point lead, 61-56, but Westfield State went on a 6-0 run to take the lead.

The Golden Bears stormed right back to take a 65-62 lead with 34 seconds remaining, when a pump-fake by senior tri-captain Gavin Illangakoon (Ellington, CT) got a Western New England defender in the air, but Illangakoon was unable to draw the foul. The off-balanced shot, however, found its way to the rim to tie the game at 65 with time running out. Illangakoon was given a chance to win the game with time expiring on the Owls’ next possession, but was unable to knock down the jumper, sending the game into overtime.

The teams battled in overtime, with Western New England taking a 75-73 lead on a jumper by junior Ryan Hernandez (Hampton Bays, NY) with 20 seconds remaining. Westfield State settled for one final shot, but Illangakoon’s three-point attempt bounced off the rim to end the game.

Bayne finished the day with 30 points and 10 rebounds to lead all players in both categories. Senior tri-captain Curtis Gadles (Pembroke, MA) finished with 27 points and seven rebounds to lead the Owls.

Western New England improves to 2-4 on the season, while Westfield State falls to 5-1 with its first loss of the season.