WILLIMANTIC, Conn. – Amherst College limited Eastern Connecticut State University to one field goal in a 12-3 scoring run over seven minutes in the first half as the No. 19 Mammoths posted an 82-61 non-conference men's basketball victory Tuesday evening at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium, stopping the Warriors' six-game winning streak and handing them their first home loss in seven outings.
The top defensive team in Division III by holding its opponent to just under 60 points per game, Amherst (14-2) defeated Eastern (14-4) for the first time in the last three years. The Mammoths had allowed an average of 91 points in their two recent losses to the Warriors.
Eastern was held nearly 20 points under its season scoring average Tuesday night en route to a season-low point total.
Featuring five players standing 6-foot-7 or better – including 6-foot-10 inch starter Joseph Schneider – Amherst outrebounded Eastern 2-to-1, scoring 17 points off offensive rebounds, outscoring the Warriors 54-16 in the paint and 20-11 off the bench.
Six-foot-seven inch junior Eric Sellew led Amherst with 21 points, 13 rebounds and four assists. He was 8-of-12 from the floor. Sophomore guard Grant Robinson had 19 points and sophomore Fru Che ten points, seven rebounds and two blocked shots.
Freshman Seth Thomas (Norwich) – Eastern's second-tallest starter at 6-foot-4 -- picked up two quick fouls a minute apart and played seven scoreless minutes in the first half when Amherst built a nine-point, 36-27 lead.
Junior guard Carlos Gonzalez (Springfield, MA) led Eastern with 16 points, six assists, five rebounds and four steals, moving to within 29 points of 1,000 in his career. Junior guard Jake Collagan (Wethersfield) added 12 points, five of the points coming on six free throw attempts. Senior forward Leonel Hyatt (Greenwich) -- the team's tallest starter at 6-foot-6 inches -- had eight points and five rebounds.
Ranked second nationally in steals per game, Gonzalez broke the program career steals record with his fourth of the game with 12:33 left in the game when he wrestled the ball from Sellew, forcing a jump ball that was awarded to Eastern. The steal was the 229th for Gonzalez in 78 career games. The previous record was held by Eastern Hall of Famer Rich Vega in 103 career games. Gonzalez' career steal average of 2.94 trails only Bunky Gonzalez (no relation), who averaged 2.95.
Starting Saturday at home against Plymouth State University at 3 p.m., Eastern closes out the regular season with seven straight Little East Conference games.