Amherst uses 3-pointers to move on
Lord Jeffs improve to 4-1 in play vs. Rhode Island
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. – Amherst (25-3) used the 3-point shot and clutch free-throw shooting to hold off Rhode Island College 78-74 to advance to Saturday's Elite Eight contest vs. host Williams College, a winner vs. Virginia Wesleyan on Friday.
With the loss, the Anchormen finished the year at 21-8.
RIC had battled back from a 13-point second-half deficit to take the lead with 3:34 remaining on a driving layup by Antone Gray that put the Anchormen on top 65-64. It was RIC’s first lead since 14:44 of the first half
The lead did not last long though as Amherst’s Aaron Toomey hit a long 3 from in front of the Lord Jeff bench and Amherst moved ahead 67-64, a lead they would not relinquish.
Toomey hit 3 of 5 3-point shots in the second half and made 7 of 9 free throws to finish with 22 points. Lord Jeff senior captain Connor Meehan tallied 20 points and became the 24th Lord Jeff to reach 1,000 points in his career. Also in double figures for the Jeffs were David Waller who had 13 and Willy Workman who netted 10.
RIC was led in scoring by senior guard Antone Gray with 22 points. Mike Akinrola added 18 and Mason Choice scored 17 for the Anchormen.
Amherst hit on 11 of 29 3s on the night. The Lord Jeffs owned the glass collecting 50 caroms to 28 for RIC. Amherst’s David Waller had a game-high nine boards and Choice and Akinrola led the Anchormen with four each.
RIC hit on 46 percent from the field, but were only successful on 3 of 18 from distance (17 percent).
Amherst opened a 12-point lead, 40-28 late in the first half on the third 3-pointer by senior guard Connor Meehan, before RIC responded with consecutive layups to cut the lead to eight at the half 40-32.
On Amherst’s last possession of the half while trying to work the clock RIC got a deflection and Mason Choice hit Mike Akinrola for a layup to make the score in favor of Amherst 40-32 at the break.
With 1:23 left in the first half RIC head coach Bob Walsh called a timeout. Out of the RIC timeout Amherst’s Aaron Toomey penetrated from the top of the key and kicked the ball to Meehan in the right corner for another 3 and Amherst owned a 12-point lead at 40-28.
Amherst hit on 8 of 16 3s in the first half and 15 of 38 (40 percent) from the field in building an eight-point margin. By contrast the Anchormen were unable to connect on any of 8 3-point attempts, but did hit on 15 of 33 shots from the field (46 percent).
There were only 5 fouls called in the first half, three on RIC and 2 on Amherst.