Amherst men’s basketball rolls past Emerson, 85-62

For the Gazette
Published: 12/2/2018 1:45:32 AM

AMHERST — The Amherst College men’s basketball team defeated Emerson, 85-62, for its fifth straight win, Saturday afternoon at LeFrak Gymnasium.

Amherst has averaged 96.2 points per game during its win streak.

“We’ve got some good offensive players,” Amherst coach David Hixon said. “We’ve got some quickness in the backcourt, we’ve got some guys who can shoot, we got a good big guy. But I think the real key is our defense.”

The Amherst defense forced 14 turnovers, leading to 16 points. It held Emerson, which had shot nearly 35 percent from 3-point range this season, to 4-for-20 from deep.

“This group coming in today (Geoffrey Gray, Jack O’Connor and Zach Waterhouse of Emerson), they’re shooting the lights out,” Hixon said. “They made more 3s against BU, who’s a Division I team, than against us. Our goal was to keep those three under 50, and we did. Between those three players they had two 3’s all day.”

Although Gray and O’Connor were the leading scorers for the Lions, with 21 and 19 points respectively, they were held to 2-for-11 shooting from 3-point range.

One of the reasons Amherst can play with consistent defensive effort throughout the entire game is its depth.

“We’re a little high on (roster) numbers by probably one or two,” Hixon said. “But it’s something that’s a luxury to have and we can play harder defense because we don’t have to worry about fouls as much. We have numbers, so when you get a guy with two fouls the guy coming in for him can do just as well.”

One of those players coming off the bench is freshman guard Devonn Allen, who Hixon said could probably start and is one of the team’s best defenders. Allen attributes the defensive success the Mammoths have had this season to their communication.

“Outside of basketball, in the fall we were really close with everybody,” Allen said. “Plus, we talk a lot on defense and work hard which really helps us out.”

Amherst created its offense from its defense. Grant Robinson led the way for the Mammoths with 23 points on 8-for-11 shooting, including 3-for-4 on 3-pointers. Garrett Day came off the bench and contributed 14 points and five rebounds, while Josh Chery recorded 13 points and 10 rebounds, including six on the offensive glass.

“I think we feed off our defense, but I do think we can score,” Hixon said. “Garrett Day is starting to really play well. They can’t stay in front of Grant or Garrett, and then we penetrate and kick and hit 3s.”

Amherst is back at LeFrak Gymnasium Thursday when it takes on Babson at 7 p.m.

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