Men's Basketball Undefeated After Four Games
Issue   |   Wed, 12/04/2013 - 00:00
Photo Courtesy of Megan Robertson
Connor Green '16 shoots a free throw in the game against Newbury.

Picking up where they left off last year, the Jeffs once again captured the Ken Wright ’52 Memorial Invitational Championship with two convincing victories.

The Jeffs, who never trailed at any point over the weekend, defeated Newbury and Nichols, scoring a combined 213 points in the two victorious efforts.

Playing host to Newbury College on Friday, Nov. 22, the Jeffs jumped out to an 11-point lead after five minutes behind six early points from David Kalema ’14. Devin Johnson answered with five points for Newbury, shrinking the Jeffs’ lead to six, but, after that, the home team never looked back. They led by 13 at halftime, and the second half turned into a runaway, with the game finishing 99-65 in favor of Amherst.

The best effort of the game on either side came from Amherst’s Connor Green ’16, who had an impressive 31 points. In 32 minutes, the 6’4” swingman shot a lethal 7-for-10 from three-point range, and he was a perfect 6-for-6 from the foul line. The usually dominant Aaron Toomey ’14 played more of a facilitator’s role, shooting 4-for-6 for nine points to go along with six assists. Tom Killian ’14 also approached a double-double with ten points and nine rebounds. Junior Joseph Mussachia had eight points and five boards — three of them offensive — in 18 minutes.

Overall, the Jeffs were in control of the glass, outrebounding Newbury 49-33. They shot 45 percent for the game however, a drop-off from their 51 percent mark against Brooklyn the previous week. This was an area in which the squad hopes to improve in their next game against Nichols.

That improvement was striking, as the Jeffs responded with a 61 percent shooting performance in their second win of the weekend. The defense, which had been an area of concern for the coaching staff, was not quite as strong this time around, although Amherst held Nichols to only 35 points in the first half. Nevertheless, the Jeffs had plenty of offensive firepower for a 114-86 win.

Against Nichols, Green once again led the way with a 21-point effort on 6-of-8 three-point shooting. This time, Green was joined by four teammates in double-figures. Toomey continued to read the floor with surgical precision, dishing out eight assists to go along with his 13 points. Nine of those points came in the first four minutes, helping to set the tone for the Amherst offense. Kalema added 16 points and Killian contributed 13 more, while Ben Pollack ’16 was also solid, totaling ten points and five rebounds in 19 minutes. Once again, the Jeffs won the battle under the boards by a margin of 39-26.
Green, who shot 70 percent overall and 72 percent from three, was named tournament MVP, an honor that signals his emergence as a force from beyond the arc. Toomey also earned a spot on the All-Tournament team.

On Tuesday night, the Jeffs earned their fourth win of the season, keeping Westfield State’s offense in check for a final score of 83-59. In their best defensive effort of the young season, Amherst held its opponents to a mere 39 percent shooting. The Jeffs themselves shot a subpar 46 percent, but it was more than enough, thanks in large part to the efforts of Toomey. The senior stalwart, who had been relatively quiet during the Wright Invitational, exploded for 37 points on 9-of-12 shooting. Toomey also converted 13 of 14 free throws; as a team, the Jeffs excelled from the line with a 25-for-28 performance. Green added 12 points and eight rebounds, while first-year David George had ten and nine.

Following an excellent start, the Jeffs now turn to the second of their five December matchups as they host Anna Maria College on Thursday, Dec. 5. After facing Emerson on Saturday, Dec. 7, the squad will endure two extremely tough road tests, traveling to Babson College and Brandeis Univ. the following week. Coach Dave Hixon has identified those matchups as two of the tougher games on the Jeffs’ schedule, and the team would like to win at least one of the two before beginning league play in January.