Undefeated Men’s Basketball Pulverizes Bowdoin, Colby
By Karan Bains '14, Sports Section Editor
The men’s basketball team continued its incredible start to the season this week, extending their season-long winning streak to 18 games with a pair of victories over NESCAC opponents Colby and Bowdoin. Still undefeated at 18-0, the Jeffs have now tied the 2005-6 squad for the third longest streak in the program’s successful history.

Taylor Barrise ’12 attributed their success to strong teamwork, saying that, “We’re all good friends and we’ve found a way to get everybody involved. Everyone is capable of having a big night so there is no pressure on one single person to perform.”

Co-captain Kurt Bennett ’11 echoed that sentiment, asserting that “Everyone has just committed to helping the team out in whatever way they are asked to.”

The Jeffs certainly showed their team-oriented style throughout the weekend. Colby came into LeFrak on Friday and put together an impressive first half effort, battling their way to a 28-28 tie with 5:28 to play before halftime.

However, Amherst’s athleticism proved too much for the Mules, as the Jeffs outscored their overmatched opposition 54-21 over the rest of the game. While Colby mounted a brief second half comeback and cut the lead to five points, Amherst ran off nine straight points to push the lead back to double digits.

Aaron Toomey ’14 played a solid, efficient game, finishing with 18 points on 5-5 shooting from the field, including a perfect 3-3 from three point land. Jeff Holmes ’12 also made an impact, scoring 10 points and grabbing six boards in only 13 minutes of action.

However, it was the Amherst defense that put the clamps on the Mules and ensured a blowout victory in the second half. After allowing Colby to shoot 65 percent from the floor in the first half, the Jeffs held the Mules to a paltry 19 percent mark in the second half.

While defense was the Jeffs’ calling card against Colby, their offensive firepower was on full display the next day against Bowdoin. Barrise led the charge at the outset, draining five treys en route to 19 first half points. The Jeffs shot 10-15 from behind the arc in the first half, grabbing a 57-41 lead with their hot shooting. Amherst managed to sustain the lead throughout the second half, using the size of Peter Kaasila ’13 to overmatch the Polar Bears and power the Jeffs to a 103-85 win.

Six different Jeffs scored in double figures: Barisse, Holmes, Toomey,Willy Workman ’13, co-captain Conor Meehan ’11 and Allen Williamson ’13. Toomey led the team with 20 points, five rebounds and five assists. Bowdoin’s Will Hanley ’12 was a tough cover for the Jeffs all afternoon, as he singlehandedly kept the game from being a huge blowout with 26 points.

Even though the weekend’s games were not nail-biters, Barisse emphasized that the Jeffs need to bring intensity every time they step onto the court. “Every game is a chance to get better as a team,” he said, “so by not taking the subpar teams lightly we will be even more prepared to play better teams further down the road.”

After two more strong performances, the Jeffs are closing in on the program record of 23 straight victories. Tufts and Bates come to LeFrak this weekend, and Brandeis follows on Tuesday in what promises to be a big week for Amherst.

The key to continued success, says Bennett, is avoiding a sense of complacency due to the undefeated start. “I think we can keep playing well as long as we don’t get satisfied with where we are now,” he said.

If the Jeffs can heed Bennett’s words and vanquish their opponents next week, they will be on the cusp of program history.

Issue 13, Submitted 2011-02-03 08:53:26