AMHERST, MA -- After a close game that saw them down for much of the second half, the Amherst College Lord Jeffs (12-4, 2-2) defeated the Williams College Ephs (11-6, 2-2) 86-76 in overtime.
With under two minutes to play, Reid Berman converted a three-point play to give Amherst a 70-69 lead, but Daniel Aronowitz answered with a pair of foul shots. After David George finished in the paint for Amherst, Berman added another layup to put the Lord Jeffs up by three in the final minute, but Daniel Aronowitz sunk a clutch three-pointer to tie the game at 74, the score that would send the teams to overtime.
In the extra period, however, Connor Green took over, scoring ten points as Amherst outscored Williams 12-2 in overtime. Williams couldn't get their shots to fall or snag offensive rebounds, and the game ended with a deceptive double-digit margin of victory for the Lord Jeffs.
Green, a junior who became the 28th player in Amherst history to score 1000 career points in the Lord Jeffs' last game, was indubitably the player of the game. He registered game-highs in points and rebounds, with 30 and 11 respectively.
Williams led the game by four at the half, capping an exciting and closely contested opening half. Amherst got off to an early lead when Connor Green sunk a three-point shot and then got a steal to set up a jumper for a quick five points.
This run would keep Amherst on top until a deep three by Mike Greenman retook the lead for Williams halfway through the half. The lead yo-yoed for much of the rest of the half; Jeff Racy nailed a three in the final minute only to be answered by Ryan Kilcullen. A second-chance trey by Cole Teal on the Ephs' last possession established the 38-34 lead that accompanied the teams into the half.
Williams went on an 8-0 run early in the second half keyed by an athletic layup by Ryan Kilcullen and open threes by Daniel Aronowitz and Mike Greenman. The consequent 8-point lead would keep Amherst behind for much fo the half.
Trailing by five with 4 minutes left to play, Connor Green injected life into both Amherst's team and fans with a nothing-but-net three from the left side to cut the deficit to two points. Daniel Wohl answered with a floater on the baseline, only to have Michael Riopel hit a trey of his own. Desperate to maintain the one-point lead, Daniel put the team on his back and drilled a three to extend the lead back to four.
David George was able to get the post bucket, allowing Berman to retake the lead with his three-point play, and the rest was history.
Williams head coach Kevin App had few complaints about the game, saying, "This was a great game between two very talented teams. Our guys played really, really good basketball; they did everything we asked them."
Coach App speculated about the Ephs' failure to stay competitive in overtime: "Whether we got tired or whatever, I don't know. They hit the first shot in overtime and maybe we panicked a little, took harder shots than we needed to... It was a great game, but [Amherst] just made a couple more plays."
The final score of 86-76 does not do Williams justice for the high quality of basketball they played; the Ephs made 44% of their three-point attempts and 39.7% from the field, although they were shooting better than 50% from behind the arc for much of the contest. Daniel Wohl assumed his traditional role for Williams, leading the team with 24 points and 8 rebounds, while Daniel Aronowitz contributed an impressive performance as well, notching 21 points.
Amherst finished the game shooting 44.8% from the field and 41.7% from three, and, in addition to Connor Green's double-double with 30 points and 11 rebounds, David George registered 16 points in the game. Green and George combined for more than half of the Lord Jeffs' points, and accounted for all scoring in overtime.
Williams will next face Hamilton in Clinton, NY on Saturday, while Amherst returns to the court against Trinity also on January 24.