Contact: Ben Badua
AMHERST, Mass. - Peter Kaasila '13 poured in a career-high 23 points on 10-for-13 shooting to help power the 14th-ranked Amherst men's basketball team to an 83-55 victory over NESCAC rival Trinity.
Extending their win streak over the Bantams to seven, Amherst improved to 17-2 (6-0 NESCAC ) on the season, while Trinity fell to 8-11 (2-4 NESCAC) on the year.
Kaasila added eight rebounds to go along with his game-high 23 points, while Aaron Toomey '14 finished with 16 points, seven assists, five rebounds and four steals. Allen Williamson '13 and David Kalema '14 each had 11 points, while Willy Workman '13 chipped in with five points and five boards. With 216 points on the year, the senior tri-captain now stands just 26 points shy of becoming the 26th-player in program history to surpass the 1,000-point plateau.
Jaquann Starks '16 paced Trinity with 12 points, while George Papadeas '15 had 10 points and eight rebounds. Steve Spirou '15 and Shay Ajayi '16 chipped in with seven points apiece.
Trailing 4-0, Amherst reeled off nine unanswered, building a five-point lead on a Kaasila layup at 15:27. Netting the Bantams' first field-goal in 3:17, Starks stemmed the tide before a Mickel Simpson '15 jumper brought Trinity within one. Scoring nine of the game's next 11 points, the Jeffs went back on the offensive, going up 18-10 on a Toomey bucket midway through the frame.
An Ajayi triple coupled with a Simpson basket quickly trimmed the visitors' deficit to three, but Toomey drained a trey of his own, kick-starting a 10-3 Amherst spurt that gave the Purple & White their first double-digit lead. Battling back, the Bantams pulled within four with a Starks layup at 3:49, but the Jeffs once again responded, closing out the half on a 7-2 run to take a 35-26 lead into the intermission.
Opening the second half on a 9-0 run, Amherst saw its lead balloon to 18 on a Kaasila layup with 17:41 on the clock. Starks scored four of the game's next five points to pare the margin to 45-30, but Jeffs came right back with 11 answered to blow the game open.
Kaasila got the run started with a basket at 16:25, before consecutive Tom Killiam '14 and Toomey baskets followed by another Kaasila layup stretched the lead to 23. Workman capped off the stretch with a three-pointer at 13:31 to make it 56-30.
Hoping to keep pace, Trinity scored seven-straight points, pulling back within 19 on a Ajayi layup with 11:26 to go, but a 25-13 Jeff rally over the next 10 minutes of action put the game out of reach as Kalema put Amherst up 81-50 with just 1:46 remaining.
Shooting a blistering 64.3 percent (18-for-28) in the second half, Amherst finished 30-for-64 (46.9 percent) from the field, while holding Trinity to 21-for-54 (38.9 percent) from the floor and 4-for-15 (26.7 percent) from three-point range. Also outrebounding the Bantams 40-35, the Jeffs dominated down low, holding a 42-24 advantage in points in the paint and 17-12 edge in second chance points.
Amherst returns to action on Tuesday, Jan. 29 at Rhode Island College.