Men’s Basketball Dunks Tufts, Bates
Issue   |   Wed, 02/08/2012 - 01:23
Photo courtesy of Chloe McKenzie '14
David Waller ’12 scored a combined 34 points in two games this weekend.

With the postseason looming on the horizon, the sixth-ranked men’s basketball team continues to make adjustments and build confidence for the final stretch of the season. In addition, the past few weeks have tested the Jeffs’ composure against enemy crowds, as seven of their last eight games have come on the road. The last two trips took place over the last week, as Amherst went up against conference foes Bates and Tufts on Friday and Saturday, respectively.

After coming home for a single contest last Tuesday, the Jeffs had to re-energize themselves to battle away from LeFrak once more. David Waller ’12 had no problem bringing his best game to the floor early, scoring seven points in the first six minutes, including a three-pointer and a dunk, en route to a 19-point night. However, Bates hung around for most of the game, fighting to remain competitive with the Jeffs. At halftime, Amherst maintained a slim 33–31 advantage, and the margin stayed under 10 points for almost 11 minutes in the second half, as well before the Jeffs pulled away for a 67–54 win.

While Waller provided the scoring punch, many of his teammates chipped in as well. Willy Workman ’13 posted 11 points, 10 rebounds and three steals and Aaron Toomey ’14 dished out six assists along with nine points and seven boards. Jeff Holmes ’12 provided a vital dose of momentum in the second half, finding the net three times in a row to offset a late Bates run and finished with eight points to go along with 10 rebounds. Overall, the Jeffs dominated the boards by a 50–37 margin and clamped down on defense in the second half, holding Bates to a meager 22.9 percent shooting after the intermission.

The solid team effort continued the following day against Tufts, and the Jeffs needed every single contribution to match up against the Jumbos. The first half was back and forth, with momentum swinging every few minutes, and Tufts took a 36–35 lead heading into the locker room at the half. However, Amherst kicked into another gear in the second half, opening the frame with an 8–2 run and never relinquishing the lead afterwards. The game stayed close throughout, but the Jeffs hung on for a 74–65 win, their seventh consecutive victory. Toomey led the team with 18 points, and Waller had another impressive game with 15 points and seven boards. Workman and Allen Williamson ’13 added 10 points each to help secure the win as well.

The Jeffs will now head home to take on Williams and Middlebury in a weekend with important ramifications for the upcoming NESCAC Championship Tournament. While Amherst is already assured a home quarterfinal game after the win against Tufts, the Jeffs are tied for first place in the conference with Middlebury. If the team can take care of business against the Ephs on Friday, it will set up a mammoth Saturday matchup against the Panthers on the last day of the regular season, a battle for the number one seed in the tournament. If Amherst can continue to get contributions from all around the squad and continue their solid play of late, it should shape up to be an entertaining weekend in LeFrak.