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Zieja Tabbed NESCAC Player of the Week

February 25, 2002

Steve Zieja '03
Junior tri-captain Steve Zieja averaged 25.0 points and 6.7 rebounds in NESCAC Tournament victories over Bowdoin, Williams and Trinity Colleges
AMHERST, MA - Amherst College junior tri-captain Steve Zieja (Hadley, MA) was named the NESCAC Men's Basketball Player of the Week on Monday after leading the Jeffs to a trio of wins, their second straight NESCAC Postseason Tournament Championship and an automatic bid to their third consecutive NCAA Tournament.

Zieja averaged 25.0 points and 6.7 rebounds in NESCAC Tournament victories over Bowdoin, Williams and Trinity Colleges, saving perhaps his best performance for Sunday's 85-78 win in the title game against top-seeded Trinity. The six-foot-five power forward torched the Bantams for a game-high 32 points, including 21 in the first half, scoring 10 straight during an early 17-6 Amherst run. He also posted a double-double 29-point, 10-rebound performance in the Jeffs' 71-61 quarterfinal win over Bowdoin, and added 14 points in a 69-62 semifinal win over Williams.

"It doesn't surprise me that Steve plays his best basketball in big games," says Amherst head coach David Hixon. "The bigger the game, the better he is. He's been our leader all year long, but we definitely jumped on his back during the tournament."

Currently fourth in the NESCAC in scoring (18.1 ppg), fifth in free throw percentage (79.2%) and ninth in rebounding (7.1 rpg), Zieja has established himself as one of the conference's best players, after earning Second-Team All-NESCAC honors as a sophomore. Just a junior, Zieja has already cracked the career 1,000-point and 500-rebound plateaus and is rapidly climbing Amherst's all-time scoring list. His 1,173 career points (through Sunday) are 11th all-time at Amherst, with the school record of 1,550 career points - set by Jamal Wilson '97 - well within his reach.

The Jeffs drew one of 16 first-round byes in the upcoming NCAA Tournament, for which pairings were announced on Sunday. Amherst will host a second-round game this Saturday at a time yet to be determined against the winner of Thursday's first-round matchup between Salem State College and Western Connecticut State University.