Men's Basketball Downs Williams, Midd. for First
Issue   |   Tue, 02/12/2013 - 21:41

In the midst of one of the most successful stretches in program history, the Men’s Basketball team looked to build on their impressive roll as they faced off against Williams on Sunday, Feb. 10. The Jeffs entered the contest on a 14-game winning streak, having not lost since Dec. 6, and were looking to earn their 12th consecutive victory over their archrivals. Meanwhile, the No. 7-ranked Ephs shared an identical 20-2 record with Amherst and, like the Jeffs, were undefeated in conference play.

Having met once already this season, both teams had some idea of what to expect coming into the game. Playing in Lefrak Gymnasium in late January, the Jeffs scored a come-from-behind, 83-67 victory. Playing on Williams’ turf this time around, however, an Amherst victory would not be easy, as the Ephs were out to avenge that first loss.

With that in mind, the Jeffs were certainly hoping to avoid a slow start. After battling through the first few minutes, Amherst put those fears to bed by piecing together a 14-3 run early in the opening frame. Allen Williamson ’13 led the Amherst charge with four buckets, while Williams was held without a field goal for nearly six minutes, allowing the Jeffs’ lead to balloon to double digits.

Undeterred, Williams put together a small run of their own and quickly cut into the deficit. Paced by the stellar play of Michael Mayer, who finished with a game-high 17 points, Williams trimmed Amherst’s lead to seven by the end of the first half.

The intermission, though, seemed to swing the momentum back in the Jeffs’ favor. Williamson picked up where he left off in the opening half, draining two early jumpers to spark a 7-2 Amherst run. Yet, Williams still would not go away. Behind back-to-back Michael Mayer buckets, the Ephs crawled back to within six points. Unfortunately for them, it was as close as they would get.

Looking to put the nail in the coffin, Amherst turned up the defensive intensity and started executing beautifully on the offensive end. Led by Aaron Toomey ’14 and Willy Workman ’13, the Jeffs scored 13 unanswered points to take control of the game. The backcourt duo caught fire from the field, as Toomey and Workman combined for three triples that put the game well out of reach. In the blink of an eye, the contest went from a tight two-possession game to a blowout, as the Jeffs’ lead reached as many as 19 points en route to a 65-48 victory.

For the afternoon, the Jeffs were led by Williamson, who scored a team-high 16 points on very efficient 8-for-10 shooting. Workman put together an even more impressive line, as the senior recorded a double-double with 13 points and a career-high 13 rebounds to go along with four assists. His backcourt partner, Toomey, filled up the stat sheet as well, contributing 14 points, six rebounds, five assists and two steals. Toomey was dialed in from long distance, connecting on four triples on ten attempts. Coming off the bench, David Kalema ’14 also had a nice game with 10 points on 3-for-4 shooting, including a perfect 2-of-2 from behind the arc.

With the victory, Amherst moved one game away from finishing the season undefeated in conference play. That said, a big hurdle still stood between them and that accomplishment. The Jeffs faced No. 5-ranked Middlebury on Tuesday in a hotly-contested game. But the Jeffs passed the test, beating the Panthers by three points in a triple-overtime thriller. Senior Willy Workman, who had had a huge performance earlier in the week against Williams, came up big again with a 30-point effort as the Jeffs wrapped up the season in first place.

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