Hartford, Conn. - The visiting Amherst College men's basketball team jumped out to a 12-1 lead and held off the Trinity College Bantams for a 89-82 victory in New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) men's basketball action this afternoon at Oosting Gymnasium. Trinity, which lost for the first time at home in nine games this season, drops to 14-6 with its second loss in a row, while the No. 14-ranked Purple and White improves to 16-3. The teams move into a tie for first place in the NESCAC at 5-1.
Amherst shot the lights out in the first half, finishing with a 54.8 field-goal percentage (17-31) and a 46.2 percent three-point shooting percentage (6-13) to lead, 50-42, at halftime. The Lord Jeffs also outrebounded Trinity, 20-14, in the first 20 minutes, while both teams were efficient from the charity stripe with 22 makes in 26 attempts between them. Amherst sophomore John McCarthy (Medfield, Mass.) led all scorers at the break with 13 points, while junior Jeff Racy (Ridgefield, Conn.) added 12. Senior captains Jaquann Starks (Hartford, Conn.) and Shay Ajayi (Brooklyn, N.Y.) paced Trinity at the break with nine and eight points, respectively.
Trinity pulled to within five points twice in the second stanza, once early at 51-46 on a layup by junior guard Langdon Neal (Chicago, Ill.) and a second time with 11:12 remaining on a jumper from the foul line by Neal. A drive by Trinity sophomore Eric Gendron (Merrimack, N.H.) with 4:39 on the clock made the score, 72-66, but McCarthy put Amherst back ahead by double digits at 82-70 at the 2:16 mark and the visitors hit enough free throws down the stretch to maintain at least an eight-point lead the rest of the way.
Starks paced Trinity in scoring with 21 points, while junior Ed Ogundeko (Brooklyn, N.Y.) added 15 points, a game-high 14 rebounds, and three blocks. Neal added 11 points off the bench and Ajayi totaled 10 points. McCarthy led all scorers with 23 points to go with seven boards, while senior guard Jayde Dawson (Montreal, Quebec) notched 22 points and four assists.