Following an up-and-down start to the season, men’s basketball sits at 3-3 a quarter of the way through. After defeating Albertus Magnus College in the season opener, the Mammoths went on to lose three of their next four games, but they bounced back with an emphatic win in their home opener.
The Mammoths followed their opening win with a trip to Arlington, Virginia, for the Marymount University Tournament on Saturday, Nov. 19. They played the University of Lynchburg in their first game, which they ultimately lost 62-57, their first of the young season. Though Amherst led at the halftime break 27-23 and even pushed their lead to nine over the course of the first eight minutes of the second half, Lynchburg took control of the game from there with a 15-2 run. While Amherst had a 51-25 advantage on the glass for the game, the Mammoths committed 20 turnovers, compared to just four committed by Lynchburg.
Amherst took on the host of the tournament, the Marymount University Saints, the next day and emerged with an exhilarating one-point victory. The Saints opened up the first half red hot, shooting 50 percent from the three-point line and building a nine-point lead heading into the halftime break. The Mammoths showed their resiliency in the second half, however, helped in large part by Canin Reynolds ’25, who scored all 17 of his points in the final 15 minutes of the game. The lead changed hands nine different times over the final nine minutes of the game, but it was Reynolds who ultimately sealed the game for the Mammoths. With 10 seconds remaining and the Mammoths down by two, Ryker Vance ’25 made an athletic play to keep an inbounds play alive and find Reynolds at the top of the key. Reynolds calmly received the pass, let a closing Saint defender fly past him, and knocked down the three-pointer with four seconds remaining for a 65-64 lead. The Saints raced down the court for a last-second attempt of their own, but Vance read the play perfectly and blocked the shot as time expired.
After the thrilling win in Virginia, the Mammoths returned to Massachusetts for a pre-Thanksgiving matchup against Babson College on Wednesday, Nov. 23. The Mammoths may have already had their minds on the next day’s meal, though, as they fell into a 16-point hole in the first eight minutes of the contest that they could not climb themselves out of. They opened the game shooting just 1 for their first 12 attempts from the floor and were outrebounded 11-4 during that span. The Beavers, on the other hand, couldn’t seem to miss, sinking eight of their first 13 shots. Though they cut the deficit to just four in the second half, the Mammoths would go cold again and ended up falling by a final score of 66-54. Amherst shot just 26.9 percent from the floor (18 of 67) in the contest.
Continuing their early-season road trip, the Mammoths then traveled to New York City to take on Yeshiva University. In what was a tight matchup throughout, complete with nine ties and 12 total lead changes, it was the Maccabees who prevailed 61-57. Though the Mammoths had the advantage on the glass by a 35-23 margin and shot their best field goal percentage of the season (51 percent) and their best three-point percentage since Jan. 2020 (50 percent), the Maccabees held a significant advantage in the turnover department, as they scored 30 points off the Mammoths’ 26 turnovers compared to the 16 points the Mammoths scored off the Beavers’ 15 turnovers.
Already five games into the season, the Mammoths finally held their home opener on Monday, Nov. 28, against the Northern Vermont University-Johnson Badgers (NVU-Johnson). The Mammoths were in need of a big win and got just that in front of their home crowd, defeating the Badgers 94-64. The game was close for the majority of the first half, but a Bobby Sommers ’25 and-one dunk set off a 20-2 Mammoth run that held for the remainder of the contest. The Mammoths ended up taking a 45-31 lead into halftime, and that lead would continue to grow in the second half before reaching the final 30-point margin of victory. The team finished with 18 combined three-pointers, the most an Amherst team has scored in a single game in over 10 years. Three Mammoths scored in double digits and set career highs in points: Noah Helmke ’25 — who finished with 20 points and shot 6 for 9 from beyond the arc in just 13 minutes on the floor — Reynolds, and Sommers, who finished with 19 and 16 points, respectively.
Looking ahead, the Mammoths will travel to New Hampshire to take on Colby-Sawyer College on Thursday, Dec. 1, before a home matchup against Springfield College on Tuesday, Dec. 6. The Mammoths will play two more out-of-conference opponents over the following two weeks, and they will then begin NESCAC play in January.