NO. 10 AMHERST DEFEATS NO. 18 RHODE ISLAND COLLEGE, 74-65, IN BATTLE OF REGIONAL POWERHOUSES
Providence, R.I.-Junior guard Aaron Toomey (Greensboro, NC) tallied a game-high 34 points to lead No. 10 Amherst College to a 74-65 over the No. 18 Rhode Island College men's basketball team on Tuesday night at The Murray Center in non-conference action.
In another thrilling meeting between these two prestigious programs, Toomey played all 40 minutes and went 9-for-12 from the floor, 5-for-6 from beyond the arc and 11-for-12 from the free throw line to go along with eight rebounds, two steals and two assists to guide Amherst (18-2) to its 12th consecutive victory and its fourth straight victory over Rhode Island College (16-3).
Sophomore forward Chris Burton (New Rochelle, NY) led the Anchormen with 10 points, 13 rebounds and a pair of blocks, while junior guard Nyheem Sanders (Pawtucket, RI) finished with 18 points off the bench.
"Give Amherst a lot of credit, their offense was better than our defense," said Head Coach Bob Walsh. "When that happens we're going to have a hard time winning. We showed a lot of fight, but ultimately we couldn't get enough stops."
After the Lord Jeffs jumped out to a five-point lead early in the game following six straight points from senior forward Willy Workman (Northampton, MA), the Anchormen quickly bounced back with a 15-3 run to go ahead, 24-17, with 9:19 on the clock. However, Amherst responded with a 20-7 run of its own to close out the final nine minutes of the half and went into the break with a 37-31 lead.
The Lord Jeffs quickly extended its lead to nine coming out of the half following five quick points from Toomey. However, Rhode Island College quickly stormed back to tie the game at 44 after an 11-2 run that was capped by off by a three-pointer from Sanders with 14:05 to play. After the two teams exchanged baskets over the next few minutes, Amherst leaped ahead to take a 58-51 lead with less than nine minutes remaining, keyed by a pair of threes from Toomey.
Over the next three minutes, Rhode Island College rallied to pull within one at the 5:27 mark following seven straight points for the Anchormen, four of them from Sanders. However, the Lord Jeffs soon jumped back ahead by six, sparked by a huge trey from junior guard David Kalema (Burke, VA) with 5:06 on the clock, and eventually went ahead by 10 to make it, 70-60, with just 52 seconds left to play after a three-point play from Kalema and a pair of free throws from Toomey.
Rhode Island College cut the deficit to five with just 30 seconds on the clock after senior guard Ethan Gaye (Providence, RI) forced a clutch turnover and connected on a layup in transition. Yet, the home team couldn't muster any more offense in the final seconds of play as the Lord Jeffs managed to stave off the Anchormen on the road.
Senior guard Tahrike Carter (Brooklyn, NY) dished out 10 assists to go along with four points and five rebounds, while senior center Steven Roberts (New Haven, CT) added 10 points and five boards. Junior guards Tom DeCiantis (North Kingstown, RI) and Michael Palumbo (Providence, RI) each chipped in with seven points off the bench.
Kalema finished with 15 points for Amherst, while Workman added 10 points, eight rebounds, two blocks and two steals. Senior center Peter Kaasila (Plaistow, NH) posted 10 points, four rebounds and a pair of blocks.
Rhode Island College shot 42 percent (28-for-67) from the field, 33 percent (4-for-12) from downtown and 46 percent (5-for-11) from the free throw line.
Amherst shot 43 percent from the field (23-for-53), 47 percent (7-for-15) from beyond the arc and 81 percent (21-for-26) from the free throw line.
In upcoming action, Rhode Island College will travel to Clark on Thursday, Jan. 31 (6 p.m.).