Jeffs Post Key NESCAC Win Over Bowdoin, 85-79
February 15, 2002
Amherst started the game with a 13-3 run from which Bowdoin would never fully recover, holding the Polar Bears without a field goal over the first four minutes. Sophomore guard John Donovan (Holmdel, NJ) scored five of his 12 points during the barrage, including a three-pointer in traffic that gave the Jeffs an early 10-point lead. Amherst would stretch its advantage to as many as 18 points in the first half, with sophomore guard Adam Harper (Washington, DC) leading the way with a trio of consecutive buckets, capped by a long-range trifecta from the right wing with 12:24 left before halftime.
The Jeffs kept the lead in double digits for the rest of the half, and appeared to have the momentum going into the locker room when junior point guard Ryan Faulkner (Lebanon, NH) drilled a three-pointer off a pass from the low post by junior center Pat Fitzsimons (Durham, NC) with 16 seconds on the clock. Donovan fouled Bowdoin's Hugh Coleman (Dorchester, MA) on the ensuing possession, however, and the senior guard swished a pair of charity tosses to set the halftime score at 44-33.
Bowdoin's deficit hovered around 10 points for most of the second half until Coleman connected from behind the arc and senior guard Greg Orlicz (Liverpool, NY) hit a running one-hander for the Polar Bears, cutting the lead to just five points, 70-65, with 2:13 left in regulation. Amherst junior forward Steve Zieja (Hadley, MA) then traded buckets with Orlicz, who hit yet another Bowdoin three-pointer, making it a four-point game.
The pesky Polar Bears would get no closer, although they made things interesting in the waning seconds. Down seven points with 20 seconds left, Coleman hit the deepest three-pointer of the game off a nifty feed from junior guard Danny Ginn (Windham, MA), cutting the lead to four points yet again with 15 ticks on the clock. Zieja was immediately fouled by junior guard Braden Clement (Showhegan, ME) moments later and gave Bowdoin a gift by missing the first of two free throws. Colemen tried another three-pointer but this time missed off the back iron, all but cementing the win for the Jeffs. Sophomore guard Frank Perry (Hartford, CT) sealed the game from the stripe with three seconds left, as Amherst narrowly escaped with the six-point victory.
Joining Donovan in double figures, Harper led Amherst with 19 points, followed by Fitzsimons with 18 points and 10 rebounds and Zieja with 16 points and a game-high 11 caroms. Sophomore sharpshooter John Kloepfer (Buffalo, NY) added 10 points off the bench on 4-for-5 shooting.
Coleman paced the visitors with a 24 points, including a 4-for-6 showing from three-point range. Clement and Orlicz finished with 12 and 11 points, respectively.
The game was fairly even from the floor with Bowdoin hitting 28 of its 60 field goal attempts (46.7%) and the Jeffs connecting on 28-of-59 (47.5%), and the Polar Bears actually converted six more three-pointers than Amherst. The hosts won the game from the free throw line, however, hitting 22-of-32 charity tosses, as compared to Bowdoin's 10-for-14 output.
Already in the NESCAC Tournament, Amherst can earn a first-round home game with a win over Colby College on Saturday, combined with a Bowdoin loss at Trinity. The Jeffs and White Mules square off Saturday at 3 p.m. at LeFrak Gymnasium.
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