Men’s Basketball Rebounds After Two Straight Losses
By Leon Rauch '12, Staff Writer
Against Vassar in the friendly confines of LeFrak Gymasium, the Lord Jeffs had their fifth consecutive victory well in hand long before halftime, which left Amherst up by 27, 51-24, en route to an 88-55 final score. In the second half, Amherst eased back on the throttle, as Coach Dave Hixon played everyone in a purple and white uniform. All 14 Lord Jeffs managed to score, with sophomore swingman Taylor Barrise leading the way with 14. As might be expected, the stats sheet overwhelmingly favored Amherst, who outrebounded the visitors two to one and shot over 50 percent for the game. The outcome left the Brewers at 2-14 on the season, virtually the opposite of Amherst’s 13-3 record.

Unfortunately, a huge margin of victory in one game cannot contribute even a single point to the next, a fact Amherst could only lament against Bowdoin, whose Polar Bears scored the winning basket on a last-second offensive put-back for an excruciating (from an Amherst point of view) 69-68 win. The Lord Jeffs jumped out to an early lead, which they held for most of the contest, but in the end the basketball gods proved unkind and 40 minutes of hard-fought basketball came down to a random carom that went Bowdoin’s way. Once again, Barrise paced the Lord Jeffs with a career-high 23 points. Junior Conor Meehan followed with 14, while sophomore Jeff Holmes added 12. Amherst actually shot at a healthier clip than the Polar Bears, but the latter enjoyed a decisive edge on the boards (40-30). Still, the final rebound was the one that would come back to haunt the Lord Jeffs, whose record slipped to 13-4 overall and 3-1 in the conference, while Bowdoin went to 10-7, 2-2.

Less than 24 hours later, it was a case of “different day, same result,” as Amherst fell to a very good Colby squad (15-2), to the tune of 72-68. Playing on the Mules’ home court, Amherst never led or trailed in the seesaw affair by more than five points. Although the Jeffs narrowed the gap to a single bucket in the final two minutes, they could inch no closer. For the third straight outing, Barrise led Amherst scorers, tallying 13 points, with Holmes and David Waller ’12 pitching in 12 and 11, respectively. Early in the second half, an injury forced point guard Meehan to leave the floor for the duration — a crucial blow in a close-fought game. The loss dropped Amherst to 13-5, but, more importantly, 3-2 in conference play behind Williams and Colby, both of whom are undefeated at 3-0.

The Jeffs were able to bounce back with a victory against Rhode Island College yesterday, though, taking the game 105-84. The Jeffs put on an offensive onslaught, led by senior tri-captain Steve Wheeler and Holmes. Wheeler and Holmes combined for 49 points, and five Jeffs scored in the double digits in the effort.

Going into halftime, the Jeffs showcased their sharpshooting, hitting 68.6 percent of shots from the field while taking a commanding 60-48 lead. They didn’t let up after halftime, either, going on a 9-2 run to put the game out of reach of the Anchormen.

The Jeffs will begin a three-game road trip on Friday against Bates College.

Issue 13, Submitted 2010-02-03 02:42:24