Saturday men: Knocking the rust off

David George scored a game-high 21 points in Amherst's first game in three weeks, a win vs. Rust.
Amherst athletics file photo

Amherst is the No. 3 team in the country, but even highly ranked teams need to play once in a while. The Lord Jeffs came back Saturday after three weeks off and the layoff nearly cost them before Amherst righted the ship and defeated Rust 97-93.

Amherst led by 14 with 2:20 left, but Rust went on a 9-0 run to get back into the game, which was played at Rhodes' tournament. The Bearcats got as close as 96-93 with three seconds left on a 3-pointer by Ben Shannon, but Jayde Dawson made one of two free throws to seal it.

Top-ranked Augustana survived its CCIW opener vs. Wheaton (Ill.) as the Thunder, who were just 4-7 in non-conference action, took the Vikings to the limit on the road before losing 72-68. 

Wheaton led by as many as 10 points in the second half, taking a 55-45 lead on a 3-pointer by Joel Smith with 11:33 to go. But Augustana (12-0, 1-0) rallied to tie the game at 66 on a bucket by Tayvian Johnson with 2:24 to play, and his free throw completed the three-point play and gave Augie the lead for good. Hunter Hill led Augustana with 21, while Ben Ryan had 15 points and 14 rebounds.

Sixth-ranked Elmhurst handled Illinois Wesleyan 78-64, ensuring a Top 10 matchup when the Bluejays host Augustana on Wednesday evening. Kyle Wuest led Elmhurst with 19, while Will Nixon added 17.

East Texas Baptist lost its second game in a row, falling at home 101-90 in overtime to Concordia (Texas) in American Southwest Conference action. The Tigers, who reached the round of eight last season, have lost three games, two of them to Texas Lutheran. Donovan Ford came off the bench and shot 7-for-11 from 3-point range en route to 27 points for the Tornados (6-4, 1-0 ASC). Sterling Holmes scored a game-high 26 and Jordan Kouremetis added 22 to lift No. 25 Texas Lutheran to a 91-87 overtime win vs. Southwestern. The game featured 12 ties and nine lead changes.

Concordia (Wis.), the preseason favorites in the NACC, opened up a 25-13 lead on No. 7 Benedictine but it was short-lived as Luke Johnson tallied 24 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Eagles to an 83-70 win. "We got off to a tough start but we held out composure and played well to end the first half, seizing momentum," coach Keith Bunkenburg said. "The result turned out to be a great win on the road and I am very proud of the team. We just need to be more focused at the start and cut back on our turnovers."

Zach Karalis hit a 3-pointer from the left corner as time expired to help No. 14 WPI deal host Eastern Nazarene its first loss of the season by a score of 67-65. It was the first non-conference loss for the resurgent Lions' program since Nov. 16, 2012. Trevon Butler hit a 50-footer at the buzzer for Husson to lift the Eagles to an 84-81 win at Springfield. Hampden-Sydney won with a last-second shot as well, as Mike Murray canned a 3-pointer to lift the Tigers past Rosemont 65-62 in the opening round at Johns Hopkins' tournament. However, the clock did not stop on Murray's basket, which went through the net with about 0.7 seconds remaining. 

Virginia Wesleyan won a battle of teams that have struggled in the early going. Nick Doyle scored a game-high 19 points, including the game-winner with 7.1 seconds left in overtime, to lift the 18th-ranked Marlins (7-4) past Emory (7-4) by a 71-68 score.

Trine improved to 10-1, its best start since 1983-84, as the Thunder defeated Ohio Northern 78-72. Jared Holmquist scored 23 points and scored 10 rebounds for the Thunder, while Will Dixon added 20 in the win. Trine's sole loss is to current No. 9 Ohio Wesleyan and its best win is vs. UW-Oshkosh (7-4).

Bard took advantage of a struggling Skidmore squad, sending the Thoroughbreds to their third consecutive loss in defeating Skidmore 82-75. Emmanuel Rainey scored a game-high 33 points for the Raptors, who improved to 4-6, 1-0 in the Liberty League. Edvinas Rupkus scored a team-high 23 for Skidmore, which continues to miss Aldin Medunjanin.

Colby extended its streak to nine consecutive wins as the White Mules improved to 9-1 with an 88-58 win vs. winless Maine-Farmington. Ryan Jann had a game-high 21 points on 6-for-8 shooting from the field and 3-for-4 from 3-point range.