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Amherst College > Athletics > Men's Basketball > Zieja Earns Dual Honors

Zieja Tabbed First-Team All-Northeast & Second Team Academic All-District

March 15, 2002

Steve Zieja '03
Zieja is on pace to become Amherst's all-time scoring leader
AMHERST, MA - After earning First-Team All-NESCAC honors and leading the Amherst College men's basketball team to the NCAA "Sweet 16" for the first time since 1994, junior tri-captain Steve Zieja (Hadley, MA) was named First-Team All-Northeast and Second-Team Verizon Academic All-District, as nominated and selected by sports information directors from across the region. He is now eligible for All-America consideration to be announced early next week, and was the only NESCAC player named to the Academic All-District team.

Zieja - a Second-Team All-NESCAC pick as a sophomore - paced the Jeffs and finished among the conference leaders in a bevy of statistical categories, finishing fourth in the NESCAC in scoring (18.2 ppg), fifth in free-throw shooting (79.3%) and eighth in rebounding (7.1 rpg). The 6'5" power forward cracked both the 1,000-point and 500-rebound career plateaus earlier this season and is rapidly climbing Amherst's all-time scoring list. His 1,213 career points are ninth all-time at Amherst, with the school record of 1,550 points - set by Jamal Wilson '97 - well within his reach.

Zieja played perhaps his finest basketball in the 2002 NESCAC Postseason Championship Tournament, averaging 25.0 points and 6.7 rebounds in victories over Bowdoin, Williams and Trinity Colleges, earning NESCAC and ECAC Player of the Week honors for his efforts. In the championship game against top-seeded host Trinity, Zieja poured in 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.

After winning the NESCAC Tournament and a second straight conference title, Amherst earned an automatic bid and one of 16 first-round byes in its third consecutive NCAA Tournament. Zieja was again stellar in the Jeff's 82-77 NCAA second-round win over visiting Western Connecticut State, torching the Colonials for a game-high 29 points and eight rebounds, narrowly missing out on his eighth double-double of the season.

Amherst then fell in the NCAA "Sweet 16" at SUNY Brockport, finishing its season with a 22-7 overall record and tying the 1993-94 and 2001-02 Jeffs for the most wins in school history. Amherst will return 13 players next season, including all five starters, and should be an early favorite to repeat as NESCAC Champions.