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Trinity Set to Host NESCAC Men's Basketball Championship this Weekend

February 20, 2002
Steve Zieja
Junior tri-captain Steve Zieja catapulted the Jeffs into the NESCAC Semifinals with a 29-point outburst in the Quarterfinals against Bowdoin

AMHERST, MA - Top-seeded Trinity College hosts the semifinals and final of the 2002 NESCAC Men's Basketball Championship tournament at Oosting Gymnasium with semifinal play on Saturday and the title game on Sunday.

In Saturday's first semifinal at 2 p.m., second-seeded Williams (20-4) faces fourth-seeded and defending champion Amherst (19-6). The teams met twice within a week during the regular season with Amherst recording a 72-70 home victory and Williams winning 74-45 on its home court six days later. In opening round action on Tuesday, the Ephs defeated seventh-seeded Tufts 81-57 behind 19 points from Michael Crotty, who hit 4-of-5 shots from three-point range. The Jeffs advanced to the semifinals with a 71-61 victory over Bowdoin as junior forward Steve Zieja finished with 29 points and 10 rebounds.

In Saturday's second semifinal at 4 p.m., the host Bantams (17-4), led by senior guard Colin Tabb (24.8 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game) face sixth-seeded Wesleyan (15-9). Trinity recorded a 72-65 win at Wesleyan in the next-to-last weekend of the season. The Bantams earned a bye in the first round of the tournament, while the Cardinals advanced with a 75-61 road win at Connecticut College. Senior guard Leo Jones scored 22 points, and sophomore forward Kanem Johnson added 19 points and 12 rebounds.

The winner of the two semifinals will meet for the conference championship title at 12:00 p.m. at Oosting on Sunday. The champion will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III tournament. Amherst is seeking its third consecutive trip to the national tournament. Williams advanced to the second round of the national championship in 2000. Trinity advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals in 1999, while Wesleyan looks to make its first appearance in the tournament.

2002 NESCAC Men's Basketball Tournament

First round/Tuesday, Feb. 19
No. 2 Williams 81, No. 7 Tufts 57
No. 6 Wesleyan 75, No. 3 Connecticut College 61
No. 4 Amherst 71, No. 5 Bowdoin 61

Semifinals/Saturday, Feb. 23 @ Trinity
No. 4 Amherst (19-6) vs. No. 2 Williams (21-4), 2 p.m.
No. 6 Wesleyan (15-9) vs. No. 1 Trinity (17-4), 4 p.m.

Championship/Sunday, Feb. 24 @ Trinity
Semifinal winners, Noon