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Amherst College > Athletics > Men's Basketball > Zieja Leads Men's Hoop Past Wesleyan, 85-74

Zieja's 30-Point Outburst Leads 14th Ranked Men's Hoop Past Wesleyan, 85-74

January 15, 2002

Steve Zieja '03
Zieja's 30 points were just one shy of the career-high of 31 he poured in last season at Trinity
AMHERST, MA - Amherst College junior tri-captain forward Steve Zieja (Hadley, MA) poured in a season-high 30 points and the Jeffs blew the game open with a 12-0 second half run en route to an 85-74 non-conference win over visiting Little Three rival Wesleyan University (9-4) Tuesday night at LeFrak Gymnasium. Fellow junior forward Pat Fitzsimons (Durham, NC) added 16 points and a game-high 12 rebounds for 14th ranked Amherst, which improved to 10-2 with its fourth straight win.

The Jeffs jumped out to an early 7-2 lead on a three-pointer by sophomore shooting guard Adam Harper (Washington, DC) and a pair of layups by NESCAC Player of the Week John Donovan (Holmdel, NJ) and Zieja, but watched Wesleyan junior guard Chris Bray (Montague, MA) answer with buckets on three consecutive possessions for a 9-7 Cardinal advantage. Two more first-half lead changes ensued before Bray gave Wesleyan its largest lead of the game, 37-31, on a running one-hander with 1:27 left before the break. Not to be outdone, Zieja answered with a long-range trifecta from the left wing to cut Amherst's deficit to three points at the intermission.

Wesleyan maintained its lead for over nine minutes in the second half, before Donovan drilled a pair of free throws with 10:39 remaining to knot the score at 58-58. After Wesleyan sophomore Kanem Johnson (New Haven, CT) reclaimed the lead with a silky 12-footer, Fitzsimons ignited the 12-0 Amherst run that clipped the Cardinals' wings, finishing off a flurry of offensive rebounds with a left-handed tip-in. From there it was all Amherst, which led by as many as 14 points down the stretch and sank 5-of-6 free throw attempts over the last 1:12 to seal the victory.

Zieja's 30 points were just one shy of the career-high of 31 he poured in last season at Trinity College. Harper rounded out Amherst players in double figures with 11 points, while first-year phenom Ray Corrigan (Queens, NY) added a game-high six assists.

Preseason All-American Leo Jones (Englewood, NJ) paced the Cardinals with 18 points in defeat, while Johnson added 18 and Bray chipped in with 13.

Amherst returns to action for its NESCAC opener Friday night at 7:30 at 15th ranked Williams College. The Jeffs downed Williams, 72-70, in overtime last Saturday night.

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