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Amherst Athletics | December 7, 2013

No. 1 Amherst drops first game of the season

BOSTON, Mass. – Top-ranked Amherst suffered its first setback of the 2013-14 season with a 90-79 loss to Emerson College at the Bobbi Brown and Steven Plofker Gymnasium.

The Lions improved to 6-3 overall and snapped the Jeffs’ 29-game win streak, the Lions improved to 6-3 overall.  Amherst suffered its first loss since falling to Babson (78-70) on Dec. 6, 2012.

Aaron Toomey led Amherst, connecting on seven of his 16 shots for 24 points, five assists and five steals. Connor Green added 21 points and five boards, hitting nine of his 19 field goal attempts, while David George was the only other Jeff in double figures, finishing with 14 points and eight rebounds.

Four different Lions reached double digits, led by Michael Thorpe, who poured in 24 of his game-high 26 points in the second half. Jon Goldberg posted a double-double with 15 points and 13 boards, while Brian Hurley hit seven of 12 shot attempts en route to a 16-point, six-rebound, four-assist effort. Sean Duffy chipped in with 11 points and five boards on 5-for-7 shooting.

Jumping out to an early lead, Goldberg made it 8-4 with a layup at the 16-minute mark. The Jeffs responded with five unanswered, but Emerson quickly regained the lead on a Duffy jumper at 14:25. Down 19-16 midway through the first, Amherst pieced together an 8-0 spurt thanks to a pair of Green and Connor Gach triples and a George dunk.

Battling back the home team mounted a 10-4 run of its own, retaking the lead on a pair of Kyle Edwards free throws at 6:14. Knotted at 39-39 with just over a minute and a half left in the period, Emerson netted five-straight thanks to a Tyson Hallowell jumper and Goldberg 3-pointer. Answering just before the intermission, Toomey ducked into the lane for two with just six seconds left to trim the visitors’ deficit to three.

Coming out strong to start the second Duffy hit a layup on the Lions’ first possession before four-consecutive Thorpe points stretched the margin to 50-41. With the Jeffs pulling back within one on a Green jumper with 10:11 remaining in regulation, Thorpe drained a triple before hitting back-to-back layups to make it 70-62. Keeping the pressure on, Thorpe capped off a stretch of 10-straight points with another trey that gave Emerson its largest lead (11) with just five and a half to go.

Trying to rally, Amherst netted six of the game’s next eight points, pulling within seven on a pair of Toomey free throws. Thorpe came right back with his third three-pointer of the half as Emerson hit 11 of 13 attempts from the charity stripe down the stretch to ice the game.

Averaging 97.8 points and shooting nearly 52 percent from the field and 40 percent from three-point range entering today’s game, the Jeffs struggled to get their high-powered offense going, connecting on just 42.2 percent (27-for-64) from the floor and 24.0 percent (6-for-25) from long distance. Losing the battle on the boards (40-26), Amherst was outscored 16-2 in second chance points, while the Emerson bench held a 15-5 scoring edge against the Jeff reserves.