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Amherst College > Athletics > Men's Basketball > Jeffs Win Over Colby, 86-73

Jeffs Clinch Home Playoff Game with 86-73 Win Over Colby

February 16, 2002

John Kloepfer '04
Senior tri-captains Paul Williams, Pat Taverna and senior shooting guard Mike Proctor all cracked the starting lineup for Amherst and sent the home crowd into an early frenzy
AMHERST, MA - Energized by a trio of seniors playing in their final regular season home games, the Amherst College men's basketball team thumped visiting conference rival Colby College, 86-73, on Saturday, earning a home playoff game Tuesday night against Bowdoin College in the first round of the NESCAC Postseason Championship Tournament.

Senior tri-captains Paul Williams (Franklin, MA), Pat Taverna (Whitesboro, NY) and senior shooting guard Mike Proctor (Vero Beach, FL) all cracked the starting lineup for Amherst and sent the home crowd into an early frenzy, sparking an 18-6 run at the start of the game. The trio swarmed Colby during the opening barrage, combining for 10 points, two rebounds, a pair of assists and a steal in just over five minutes. Proctor's play was especially inspiring, dropping long range bombs from behind the arc on consecutive possessions, topping his previous career-high of four points on 2-for-2 shooting and giving the Jeffs a 10-4 lead they would never relinquish.

It was all Amherst from there, leading by as many as 22 points in the first half and ballooning their bulge to a whopping 30 points after the break. The Jeffs placed 15 players in the scoring column and shot 50.8% (30-for-59) from the field, after tickling the twine at a 63.0% (17-for-27) clip in the first half.

John Kloepfer '04
First-year guard Russell Lee sang a stirring rendition of the national anthem before the Jeffs pounded Colby in their regular season finale
Junior tri-captain forward Steve Zieja (Hadley, MA) led three Amherst players in double figures with 23 points to go along with five boards and four assists. Sophomore sharpshooter John Donovan (Holmdel, NJ) dished out five assists and poured in 20 points on the strength of five three-pointers, while junior center Pat Fitzsimons (Durham, NC) finished with 12 points on 6-for-7 shooting and seven rebounds. In the backcourt, junior point guard Ryan Faulkner (Lebanon, NH) handed out a game-high 11 assists, falling just one short of his career-high of 12, set most recently in last year's NCAA Tournament second-round game at Clark University.

Meanwhile, senior captain Damien Strahorn (Menlo Park, CA) accounted for most of Colby's offense, hoisting up 21 shots en route to 31 points in his final collegiate game. Sophomore Nick Loukes (Bangor, ME) added 12 points and first-year Jared Cushman (Augusta, ME) chipped in with 11, as the Polar Bears finished their season at 10-14 overall, 3-6 in NESCAC play.

Unofficially, Amherst (18-6/5-4 NESCAC) has secured the No. 4 seed in the upcoming NESCAC Tournament, hosting fifth-seeded Bowdoin Tuesday night at either 7:00 or 7:30 p.m. Top-seeded Trinity College will receive a bye in the first round and host the semifinals and championship game on Saturday, Feb. 23 and Sunday, Feb. 24, respectively. Rounding out the field is second-seeded Williams College, third-seeded Connecticut College, sixth-seeded Wesleyan University and seventh-seeded Tufts University. Last year's semifinals and finals were also held at Trinity, with Amherst coming away with the first-ever tournament championship.

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