Men’s Basketball Struggles on the Road Posting 4-3 Interterm Mark
Issue   |   Tue, 01/24/2017 - 23:30
Amherst Athletics
Jayde Dawson ’18 is leading Amherst with 18 points per game this season.

It has been a trying month for the Amherst men’s basketball team. Heading into interterm as the number one team in the nation, the purple and white fell to No. 16 after multiple unexpected losses. The slump began with a crushing 71-70 loss to Springfield College, only a week after Amherst’s huge double overtime win against Babson College.

After a commanding 119-69 win over Keystone College, the loss to Springfield seemed like a one-off performance. However, the purple and white proved unable to create any sort of momentum, and they suffered yet another defeat the following week at the hands of Eastern Connecticut State University.

Consecutive losses to NESCAC rivals Wesleyan and Connecticut College sunk Amherst’s overall record to 10-4-0, with the undeniably disappointing run marring the team’s early success. Yet, the purple and white were determined to work through the rut in which they found themselves.

“Obviously, going 0-2 on a weekend is not what we want, but the losses forced us to address issues that needed to be fixed on both sides of the ball,” Michael Riopel ’18 said. “We’re feeling more confident.”

Amherst finally found redemption this past weekend, coming away with two huge conference wins against Bowdoin and Colby. Friday’s game was a testament to the purple and white’s resiliency, as the Polar Bears held onto their lead until the final seconds of the game. However, a buzzer-beating three from Johnny McCarthy ’18 propelled Amherst to a 66-64 victory and ended the team’s recent slump.

Senior captain David George recorded two blocked shots in Friday’s winning effort and, with the pair, became the program’s all-time blocked shots leader. With a remarkable tally of 234 over his collegiate career, George dethroned Pat Fitzsimons ’03.

The purple and white looked confident throughout Saturday’s matchup against the Mules, as four different starters put up double figures to establish a comfortable lead. McCarthy led the way with 19 points, while a strong performance by Jacob Nabatoff ’17 at the free-throw line allowed him to contribute 14 points to the cause.

Amherst returns to action on Wednesday, Jan. 25 when the team will take on Little Three rival Williams at 7 p.m. in LeFrak Gymnasium.