Men’s Basketball Impressive from the Floor, Earns Wins in First Four Games
Issue   |   Tue, 11/29/2016 - 23:11

The Amherst men’s basketball team kicked off its season last weekend with the 16th annual Ken Wright ’52 Memorial Invitational Tournament. With two commanding wins over Green Mountain College and St. Lawrence University, the purple and white look poised to have yet another successful year.

Displaying the depth of this season’s roster, four different players netted double figures in Amherst’s 83-41 win over Green Mountain on Saturday. Michael Riopel ’18 led the charge with 13 points, as he went six of seven from the floor. Not far behind him were David George ’17 and Jayde Dawson ’18, who each put up 11 points to contribute to Amherst’s impressive 45.3 percent shooting from the floor.

On defense, Eric Sellew ’20 led the purple and white with nine rebounds, while Jacob Nabatoff ’17 and George each nabbed eight boards. George also recorded two steals and three blocked shots. Amherst kept the Eagles to 27.3 percent from the floor as they secured their spot in the championship game the following day.

On Sunday, the purple and white faced St. Lawrence University and walked away with a big 90-68 win. St. Lawrence held onto a precarious one-point lead early in the first half, but key three-pointers from Riopel and Nabatoff sparked a scoring streak that put Amherst back on top. Draining three three-pointers in the span of one minute, Dawson extended Amherst’s lead to 26 points before the end of the half.

Amherst’s dominance continued into the second half, as Johnny McCarthy ’18 and Riopel made some big plays and finished the game with a team-leading 14 points each. George contributed 12 points and 10 rebounds to the winning effort. Both Riopel and George were named to the All-Tournament Team, and George was voted Tournament MVP.

The purple and white continued to impress early in their season when they faced Westfield State University in LeFrak Gymnasium on Tuesday, Nov. 29.

The Amherst men came out strong, with a quick three from Johnny McCarthy ’18 off an assist from Reid Berman ’17 within the first 20 seconds of play. The purple and white managed to hold the Owls scoreless for the next three minutes, and this full-court domination continued as Amherst finished out the first half up 45-22.

Conklin and McCarthy continued to be offensively productive for the purple and white, scoring 16 and 14 points, respectively. Racy impressed from behind the arc, shooting 4-5 for 12 points on the game, while Dawson added two three-pointers and a field goal for an eight point total.

Amherst managed to capitalize on Westfield’’s scrappy play, earning 15 of their 84 total points off of free throws. The Owls racked up 23 fouls over the course of the game, while the purple and white held their total to 17.

The dominating performance early from the Amherst squad allowed Coach David Hixon to test the depth of his bench, putting 17 of his healthy players into the game for at least two minutes.

Next up, the Amherst men will play a home stretch, facing Emerson College and Brandeis University in LeFrak on Saturday, Dec. 3 and Tuesday Dec. 6, respectively.