This week concluded regular season action for the Amherst men’s basketball team. The purple and white finished with an overall record of 17-6 and a conference record of 7-3, which sets them up as the third seed for this weekend’s NESCAC tournament.
Unfortunately, Amherst heads into the postseason coming off of two devastating losses to Wesleyan and Middlebury. The team has to make some quick adjustments if they are going to progress far into the postseason.
After a 73-72 overtime loss to Wesleyan last Tuesday, Feb. 7 in Lefrak Gymnasium, Amherst traveled to Middlebury on Friday, Feb. 10 for another competitive conference matchup.
The purple and white had a solid first half, shooting a respectable 40.5 percent from the floor and 37.5 percent from three-point range, but the Panthers were simply the better team on the day.
Shooting 61.1 percent from the field, Middlebury went on two 8-0 runs in the first half and entered the intermission with a comfortable 21-point lead.
After the break, the purple and white came out and scored eight of the first 10 points of the second half. A huge trey from Berman cut the Panthers’ lead to 12, and Amherst looked ready to make a comeback.
However, despite several quality runs from the purple and white, Middlebury maintained their composure and had an answer for each of Amherst’s efforts. An impressive 31-point performance from Panthers’ senior standout Matt St. Amour propelled Middlebury to the 106-91 win.
Recording a team-high 24 points against Middlebury, Dawson surpassed the 1,000 point milestone . He is only the 30th player in program history to reach the benchmark.
The purple and white wrapped things up on Saturday when they traveled to Hamilton, New York for their final conference tilt. The first half started out as a battle, with each team matching the other run for run.
However, on the back of threes from Jacob Nabatoff ’17 and Riopel, Amherst pulled away from the Continentals and headed into halftime with a solid 44-36 lead.
Hamilton managed to come within six points of the purple and white after a 7-0 run in the second half, but Dawson helped Amherst reestablish a comfortable lead with three treys and 4-for-4 shooting from the free throw line.
Dawson led all players with 30 points, while Riopel and Johnny McCarthy ’18 contributed 18 and 13 points, respectively. Amherst was able to end their regular season on a high note, as they came away with the 86-75 conference victory.
The purple and white will attempt to build on Saturday’s win when they take on sixth- seeded Williams this weekend at home in the first round of the NESCAC tournament. This will be the rivals’ third meeting on the season, and Amherst will attempt to go 3-0 against the Ephs.