Men's basketball tripped up at No. 8 Amherst
Amherst College's Aaron Toomey scored 26 points and handed out nine assists as the nationally ranked No. 8 Lord Jeffs rallied for a 91-73 NESCAC win against the Hamilton College Continentals at Amherst's LeFrak Gymnasium on Jan. 10.
Amherst (9-2, 1-0 NESCAC) went 21-for-25 at the free-throw line in the second half and the Jeffs outscored Hamilton 48-32 in the final 20 minutes. Toomey made 12 of 13 at the charity stripe all by himself.
Ben Pollack scored 16 of his career-high 18 points in the second half for Amherst. Pollack made all seven of his shot attempts and added eight rebounds for the night. He did all his damage in just 19 minutes. David Kalema chipped in 15 points, Tom Killian added 13 and Connor Green had 10 to go with eight boards. The Jeffs enjoyed a 48-32 advantage on the glass.
Matt Hart '16 paced the Continentals (7-6, 0-1) with 23 points. Hart is ranked fourth in the NESCAC with 20.1 points per game. Bradley Gifford '15 posted his fifth double-double this season with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Gifford added three steals. Joseph Lin '15 recorded 11 points, Greg Newton '14 had 10 and Matt Dean '14 ended up with nine off the bench.
A 3-pointer by Toomey with 13:30 to go in the first half gave the Jeffs their first double-digit lead at 23-11. Connor Gach hit consecutive shots from downtown and increased Amherst's lead to 16 at 31-15 with just under 12 minutes left.
A Hart jumper sparked a quick turnaround for Hamilton as the Continentals scored nine unanswered points in two minutes, which started a 19-4 run that pulled them within 35-34. Lin capped the spurt on a lay-up with 6:12 remaining.
A lay-up by Gifford with 37 seconds remaining in the half tied the score at 41 but Kalema retaliated with a lay-up of his own just four seconds before the buzzer, and the Jeffs entered the break with a 43-41 lead. Hamilton shot 50 percent from the floor and Hart poured in 17 points in the first 20 minutes.
Hamilton came out strong at the start of the second half and jumped out to a five-point lead -- its biggest of the game -- with under 16 minutes to play. Trailing 48-47, Hart nailed a jumper, Dean drained two free throws and Newton made it 53-48 on another jumper with 15:56 to go.
The Continentals' lead was short-lived as Pollack sparked an 11-0 Amherst run with seven straight points. Hamilton didn't get closer than four points the rest of the night. The Jeffs grabbed a 20-point lead with 41 seconds remaining on a basket by Jacob Nabatoff. The teams combined to commit just 13 turnovers for the entire game.
The Continentals play another NESCAC game at Trinity College on Saturday, Jan. 11, at 4 p.m.