AMHERST, Mass. — Johnny McCarthy swished a pair of crucial three-pointers and Jayde Dawson provided a scintillating layup before time expired to help lift No. 1 Amherst to a sensational 99-97 double-overtime victory over No. 2 Babson on Thursday evening at LeFrak Gymnasium.

With the win, Amherst remains undefeated and improves to 7-0 on the season, while Babson suffers its first setback of the year and moves to 9-1 overall. The Purple & White resume action Saturday when they host Lasell College at 3 p.m. at LeFrak Gymnasium to cap their five-game home stand.

With the score knotted at 73-73 with 2:40 to play in the second half, Jeff Racy7 put Amherst ahead 76-73 when he struck from 3-point range. Babson answered as Joey Flannery converted a pair of free throws and then hit a jumper on the Beavers' next possession to give the visitors a 77-76 edge with 1:16 remaining in regulation. David George powered in a layup on a nice feed from Reid Berman, but Isaiah Nelsen answered with a jumper in the corner to keep the Babson lead at one (79-78) with just 26 seconds on the clock. After a Flannery bucket underneath gave the Beavers a three-point lead, McCarthy raced up court and swished a deep triple with two seconds left to set the score at 81-81 and send the game to overtime.

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In the first period of extra time, Flannery capitalized on a pair of foul shots, and Bradley Jacks hit the first of two free throws to make it 84-81 with 4:02 remaining in the stanza. Following a Dawson free throw, Charlie Rice added a layup to keep the cushion at four (86-82). A McCarthy layup pulled Amherst to within two, but Jacks and Flannery each delivered a pair from the charity stripe to give Babson a 90-84 lead.  With 1:37 on the clock, Racy canned a trey to make it 90-87, and with just 44 seconds left, Eric Conklin controlled a critical offensive rebound and converted two free throws to pull the Purple & White to within one at 90-89. Nelsen gave the visitors a two-point edge with 30 seconds on the clock after he hit the second of two foul shots before Dawson drove into the lane for the game-tying bucket to make it 91-91 just seven seconds later. Holding the ball for the last shot, Jacks missed a 15-footer that sent the game to a second overtime.

In the second overtime session, Flannery hit one of two free throws, and then knocked down a jumper to make it 94-91. McCarthy answered with a layup before a strike from 3-point range by Flannery extended the Beavers' lead to 97-93. Conklin then converted one of two from the free-throw line to pull Amherst to within three at 97-94. After neither team was able to score on their ensuing possessions, Berman grabbed a defensive rebound on a missed layup by Flannery and fired the ball up the wing to McCarthy who delivered his second clutch trey of the contest to tie the game at 97-97 with 51 seconds left in the contest. After a blocked shot by Dawson on Babson's following possession the junior guard drove the lane and muscled in the game-winning bucket with just one second the clock to give the Purple & White a thrilling 99-97 victory.

Amherst, which trailed 39-36 at halftime, shot 46.8 percent from the floor, 37.5 percent from 3-point distance, and converted 15 of 19 attempts from the free-throw line (78.9 percent). Babson shot 42.1 percent from the field, 35.7 percent from beyond the arc, and was 23-of-28 from the free throw line (82.1 percent) in the losing effort.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

Dawson led five Amherst players with double-figure point totals with 32 points on 13-of-30 shooting. He added four rebounds, an assist and two blocks. McCarthy finished with 19 points on 8-of-15 shooting and was 3-of-8 from downtown. He chipped in five rebounds, five assists and two blocks, while George finished with seven boards and four swatted shots in the winning effort.
Racy was 5-of-10 from 3-point range en route to 15 points in addition to hauling in five rebounds, while Jacob Nabatoff added a double-double with 10 points and 10 boards. Off the bench, Berman collected 12 points and dished out six assists to help fuel the victory.
Flannery led the Babson offensive effort with 41 points including a 14-of-16 effort from the stripe, six rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocked shots, while Nick Comenale added 16 points on 6-of-14 shooting. Nelsen contributed 14 points and 10 rebounds, while Sam Bohmiller finished with 13 points.
In reserve, Rice grabbed 10 boards and handed out four assists as the Beavers were limited to just his six points off the bench compared to Amherst's 21.
Thursday's clash featured 12 ties and 11 lead changes with Babson mounting its largest lead (eight points) late in the first half, while Amherst's biggest advantage was five points early in the second frame.

BEYOND THE BOX SCORE

Amherst extended its home winning streak to 24 games with the win and handed the Beavers their first loss at LeFrak Gymnasium since 2010.
The Purple & White have now won three straight against Babson.