Contact: Ben Badua
AMHERST, Mass. - David Kalema '14 scored 18 of his team-high 20 points in the second half to help lead the sixth-ranked Amherst men's basketball team to an 82-71 win over Bates College at Alumni Gymnasium.
Shooting 50.8 percent (30-for-59) from the floor, including a blistering 63.0 percent (17-for-27) in the second half, Amherst improves to 13-2 (4-0 NESCAC) on the season, while dropping Bates to 8-6 (1-2 NESCAC).
Hitting six of his 11 shots and going a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line, Kalema finished just two points shy of matching a career-high. Connecting on 4-of-5 from downtown, Connor Gach '14 had a career-best 12 points, while Tom Killian '14 added 13 points, five rebounds and four assists. A day after becoming Amherst's all-time leading scorer, Aaron Toomey '14 turned in another stellar effort, netting 19 points, while also adding seven rebounds and six assists.
Scoring seven of the game's first nine points, the visitors built a 7-2 lead after a Toomey layup at 17:42. Bates responded with six unanswered, going ahead on a Sean Cunningham '14 jumper at 13:39. With the game knotted at 13-13 inside of the 10-minute mark, Gach drained a three pointer before a Kalema layup stretched the Jeff margin back up to five.
Trailing 24-17 after a Toomey basket at 4:36, the Bobcats closed the half on a 12-5 run. Mike Boornazian '16 got the home team going with a three pointer before Luke Matarazzo '14 ducked into the lane for two. Adam Philpott '15 knocked down a triple of his own the next time down the floor, but Killian answered with a layup on the other end to momentarily stem the tide. Graham Safford '15 later put Bates on top 29-26 with a jumper at 1:41, but Toomey found the range from long distance to tie the game heading into the intermission.
Still even at 34-34 several minutes into the second, Kalema knocked down a three to put Amherst back on top. Matarazzo would pull the Bobcats within one by converting a pair from the line with just over 15 minutes to play, but Toomey came right back with a three to again put the Jeffs up four.
Leading 48-44, Toomey knifed into the paint for two more, jumpstarting a decisive 17-5 run over a span of 3:17. Gach drilled three triples during the spurt, including one off a Toomey feed at 8:27 that staked the visitors to a 65-49 cushion. Battling back, Bates pieced together eight unanswered. Boornazian got it going with a three pointer at 8:06 before a pair of Billy Selmon '15 and Malcolm Delpeche '17 layups suddenly had the Bobcats back within striking distance.
Holding onto a 67-59 lead after two Safford free throws, Kalema found Joseph Mussachia '15 for an open jumper before Toomey hit Amherst's 10th trey of the afternoon to put the Jeffs up 13. Kalema and Mussachia kept the Jeffs rolling by going 4-for-4 from the line on the next two possessions to make it 76-59 with just 2:22 on the clock.
Matarazzo led all scorers with 24 points on 8-for-18 shooting. Safford posted a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds, while Boornazian chipped in with 12 points.
Shooting just 40.6 percent (13-of-32) over the first 20 minutes, including a 25.0 percent clip (3-of-12) from long distance, Amherst's offense came alive in the second. The Jeffs hit 17-of-27 (63.0 percent) from the field and 7-of-13 (53.8 percent) from behind the arc.
Amherst returns to action on Wednesday, Jan. 22 at archrival Williams.