In the Fast Lane
By Karan Bains'14, Sports Section Editor
The men’s basketball team started the season on the right foot, winning the annual Ken Wright ’52 Tournament, and winning their first four games after an exhalirating 90-89 win over the Univ. of Maine at Framingham.

Looking to make their mark as a talented dark horse team in the NESCAC, the Jeffs came into the tournament ready to roll from the beginning.

The opening game certainly provided plenty of drama, as the Jeffs defeated the Beavers in a thriller. While Amherst trailed for most of the game, they went on a 13—0 tear late in the game to pull out the overtime victory.

The extra period saw the lead change several times, and the score was knotted at 89 with 21 seconds to play. Entrusting the ball to newcomer Aaron Toomey ’14, the Jeffs ran down the clock until the final few seconds. However, even though Toomey couldn’t finish at the rim amidst a swarm of defenders, Jeff Holmes ’12 snatched the offensive board and was fouled with a meager 0.4 seconds remaining on the clock.

Holmes nailed the ensuing free throw to give the Jeffs a hard—fought victory despite a mediocre defensive performance. In fact, Holmes himself was “pretty disappointed” because “79 points is way too much to give up to any team.”

Yet Holmes’ late-game heroics would not have been possible without the excellent play of co—captain Conor Meehan ’11, who propelled the Jeffs to the win with a career—high 28 points. Meehan also added eight rebounds and four assists to complete a great all—around game.

Toomey also made a positive contribution in his collegiate debut, dropping an impressive 21 points along with four rebounds and three assists. Peter Kaasila ’13 provided a boost in the paint, scoring 16 points on eight of 11 shooting from the field and picking up six boards, as well.

The Jeffs rode the wave of momentum from their first win to capture the tournament title the next afternoon, overwhelming Castleton State by a score of 56—34.

While the visiting Spartans did not pose as much of a threat as Amherst’s previous opponent, the Jeffs kept their focus and executed well, especially on the defensive end. Amherst’s swarming defense held the Spartans to 30 percent shooting and a woeful one of 13 shooting from three point range. David Waller ’12 put up a double—double, leading the team with 14 points and adding 10 boards, three assists and two steals.

Meehan also broke double figures, posting a 13-point, six-rebound night. He was selected the tournament MVP.

However, the senior prefers to focus on the team as a whole, saying that he and his teammates have “committed to making this a banner year for us.” Meehan also cited the team’s depth as a reason for this early success, as Toomey joined him on the all—Tournament team as one of the tournament’s top five players.

Holmes echoed Meehan’s words, claiming that, “Top to bottom, this is the most solid Amherst team I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of.”

This depth was on display in the Jeffs’ next game was against Western New England College last Tuesday, where Holmes shouldered the offensive burden and posted a 17-point, 10-rebound double-double to lead Amherst to victory. After a shaky spell in the early stages, the outcome was never in doubt, as the Jeffs rolled, 93 — 64 over the winless Golden Bears.

Willy Workman ’13 found a rhythm early and put up 13 points, while Meehan hit double figures for the third straight game with 10 points.

Amherst’s strong start attracted the attention of the national polls, as the Jeffs were recognized at number 23 in the country, climbing back into the Top 25. The Jeffs continued to impress the voters with another blowout victory against Lasell College on Tuesday. Fifteen different Jeffs scored in the game, which ended with a lopsided 108-68 score. Meehan and Toomey both dropped 14 points on the night, and David Kalema ’14 added nine points off the bench.

The Jeffs get back to action with a pair of home games this weekend. They take on Westfield State on Friday and Elms on Saturday, followed by the season’s first road test next Tuesday against Emmanuel.

Issue 10, Submitted 2010-12-01 05:14:15