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Jeffs Notch First Conference Win, 92-69, Over Bates

January 25, 2002

Adam Harper '04
Sophomore sharpshooter Adam Harper poured in 19 points for the Jeffs
AMHERST, MA - Juniors Pat Fitzsimons (Durham, NC) and Steve Zieja (Hadley, MA) and sophomore sharpshooter Adam Harper (Washington, DC) combined for 63 points Friday night to lead the Amherst College men's basketball team to a 92-69 win over visiting NESCAC rival Bates College (12-5/0-2 NESCAC). The Jeffs improved to 12-4 overall with their first conference win of the season, rebounding from an 0-2 start in league play.

The game went back and forth early-on with 11 ties and eight lead changes during the first 16 minutes. With the score tied 31-31, Amherst took the largest lead of the first half with a five-point mini-run on an offensive tip-in by Zieja and Harper's second three-pointer of the game. Bates hung tough, however, and trimmed the lead to just one point, 40-39, at the break, closing out the half with a trio of free throws by senior tri-captain guard Ed Walker (Roxbury, MA). The Jeffs had a chance to score at the buzzer, but Fitzsimons back-rimmed a dunk attempt after a slick feed by junior point guard Ryan Faulkner (Lebanon, NH) in the waning seconds.

Bates, which shot a respectable 48.3% (14-for-29) in the first half, came out of the locker room cold, missing four of their first five shots after the break. Amherst took advantage by stretching their lead to eight points, 49-41, on a pair of easy layups by Fitzsimons. The Bobcats managed to sneak back within two points with a long-range trifecta by sophomore guard Ramon Garcia (Haverhill, MA) and a three-point play by senior tri-captain forward Alex Wilson (Duxbury, MA). That was as close as they would get, however, as Amherst used tenacious defense - forcing nine second half turnovers - and solid free throw shooting (13-for-16 in the second half) to pull away down the stretch.

Fitzsimons led all scorers with 22 points on 9-for-13 shooting, also pulling down a game-high 10 rebounds. Zieja added 20 points, while Harper poured in 19. Sophomore guard John Donovan (Holmdel, NJ) chipped in with eight points and a game-high seven assists.

Walker led Bates with 20 points despite playing much of the second half with four fouls, while Wilson added 19 points and six rebounds.

Amherst returns to action Saturday at 3 p.m. against visiting NESCAC rival Tufts University.

Click HERE for full box score...