NEW LONDON, CT – The 10th-ranked Amherst College men’s basketball team opened up NESCAC play with a 70-56 win at Connecticut College to remain undefeated on the year. Sophomore Allen Williamson (Saugus, MA) scored a game- and career-high 20 points on 10-for-10 shooting from the field, leading the Lord Jeffs (13-0/1-0 NESCAC) to the win over the Camels (7-6/0-1).
Amherst is off to its best start to a season since the team’s national championship year (2006-07), in which the Jeffs won their first 23 games before falling in the regular season finale to Trinity. After missing the NCAA tournament last year, the Lord Jeffs have shot back into the national spotlight and into the top-10 of the D3hoops.com Poll.
Williamson was inserted into the starting lineup two games ago, and used tonight’s conference opener as his breakout performance. In 27 minutes of action, Williamson made all 10 shots he attempted, adding four rebounds, three assists and two steals. Four teammates joined Williamson in double-digits in scoring, including fellow starters Taylor Barrise (Allendale, NJ), Conor Meehan (Meriden, CT) and Peter Kaasila (Plaistow, NH). Rookie and reigning NESCAC Player of the Week Aaron Toomey (Greensboro, NC) came off the bench to add 11 points as well.
Conn College played close with Amherst for nearly seven minutes of the first half, briefly taking a 14-13 lead on a Rob Harrigan score in the paint with 13:15 to play. Amherst responded with a 15-4 scoring run over the next five minutes to take a 28-18 lead. The Lord Jeffs stretched their lead to 13 points heading into the break up 39-26.
Amherst’s lead grew as large as 22 as Williamson scored three straight buckets for the Lord Jeffs five minutes into the second half. The Camels made a run late in the game to cut the lead down to 11 points on two occasions, but the Lord Jeffs held strong down the stretch to close out the win 70-56. Only two players hit double-digits for the Camels, with Harrigan scoring 16 points. Matt Vadas made just three of the 12 shots her took in the game, but scored 13 points for Conn as well.