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No. 10 Amherst pulls away from men's hoops, 86-69

AMHERST, Mass. -- No. 10 nationally ranked Amherst went on a 29-10 run over a span of 7:30 late in the second half to pull away from a once-close contest against the Bates men's basketball team for an 86-69 win on Friday.

The Lord Jeffs (19-2, 7-0 NESCAC) were propelled by the trio of junior Aaron Toomey and seniors Willy Workman and Peter Kaasila. Toomey poured in 27 points on 8-of-13 shooting to go with five assists. Workman scored 16 of his 18 points in the second half, including his 1,000th career point, and Kaasila grabbed a career-high 15 rebounds in addition to 13 points.

Bates senior Mark Brust (Duxbury, Mass.) paced Bates with 18 points, five assists and five rebounds, while senior Ed Bogdanovich (Portland, Maine) finished with 14 points and seven boards. Junior Luke Matarazzo (Shelton, Conn.) chipped in with 13 points on 4-of-8 shooting, hitting on three of his four attempts from behind the arc.

Opening the game on a 15-4 run, Bates took an 11-point lead on a three-pointer by sophomore Graham Safford (Hampden, Maine) at 13:26. Still down 11 after a pair of Matarazzo free throws, Amherst reeled off a 16-3 run over the next 4:13, taking a 25-23 lead on Toomey’s second trey of the game.

Tying it with a jumper at 7:05, Safford ended a nearly three-minute Bobcats’ field-goal drought, but Toomey came right back down with a triple to pull the Jeffs back in front. Down 33-30 with 2:38 left in the half, Bates pieced together an 8-4 run, taking a slim one-point lead into the intermission.

Draining a triple to open the second half scoring, Matarrazzo put the visitors up 41-37, but a 17-9 Amherst run over the next six-plus minutes put the Jeffs back up four. With the game knotted at 57-57 with 9:04 to go, Amherst took control. Workman got the run started with a three-pointer before a three by freshman Connor Green, coupled with a layup by fellow rookie Ben Pollack, made it 65-58.

Workman then connected on a pair from the charity stripe, before Green again hit from long distance to up the lead to 12. Safford ended a six-minute Bates field-goal drought with a three at 5:05, but Workman responded with a three-pointer of his own to make it 73-61. Staying on the offensive, Amherst scored 16 of the game’s next 22 points, building its largest lead of the night on a pair of Toomey free throws that stretched the margin to 19 with just 1:26 on the clock.

Shooting 57.6 percent (19-for-33) in the second half, the Jeffs finished 32-for-63 (50.8 percent) from the floor and 10-for-21 (47.6 percent) from three-point range. Tightening up as the game wore on, the Amherst defense held Bates to just 11-for-33 (33.3 percent) in the second stanza after allowing the Bobcats to shoot 45.2 percent (14-for-31) in the first 20 minutes.

Bates plays at Trinity on Saturday at 2pm in another NESCAC contest (Live Stats).