Tigers Upset #4 Amherst, 73-68
Occidental men’s basketball dealt fourth-ranked Amherst College its first loss of the season Tuesday night in the finale of the Occidental Holiday Classic.
The Tigers, who improved to 9-1, could move into the top 25 of the D3hoops.com national rankings when the poll is released next week.
Timely shooting and a stingy defense contributed to the upset by the Tigers. After holding Amherst to one basket in the first four minutes of the game, Occidental went on an 8-0 run that was capped by a jumper from Gemayal McBride ’08 midway through the first half.
A pair of free throws from Zach Phillips ’06 stretched the Oxy lead to 25-15 and the Tigers held a six-point advantage at halftime.
Occidental pushed the advantage to double digits seven minutes into the second half, but Amherst rallied to take its first lead of the game, 51-50, on a jumper by Matt Goldsmith with under eight minutes remaining.
Sam Betty ’07 scored eight of the Tigers’ next 16 points, converting a three-point play with 1:45 left to give Oxy a seven-point lead. The Tigers sank four of six free throw attempts in the last 79 seconds to seal the victory.
Betty finished with 30 points, 10 rebounds, two assists, and one steal. Phillips tallied 16 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. The Tigers committed just seven turnovers and out-rebounded the Lord Jeffs 34-26.
Occidental opens the SCIAC schedule Jan. 11 against La Verne at Ducey Gym in Claremont and returns home Jan. 14 to face Cal Lutheran. Both games are slated for a 7:30 p.m. tipoff.