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Men's Hoop Routs Rivier, Vassar Edges Stevens Tech, at Ken Wright '52 Memorial Invitational

November 30, 2001

Pat Fitzsimons '03
Amherst got a dominating double-double performance by junior center Pat Fitzsimons, who finished with a career-high 24 points and 14 rebounds in the opener
AMHERST, MA - Host Amherst College ran away with an 80-54 victory over Rivier College in the first round of the Ken Wright '52 Memorial Men's Basketball Invitational Tournament on Friday, before Vassar College outlasted Stevens Tech, 75-70, in overtime in the nightcap. Amherst will take on Vassar for the tournament championship Saturday at 3 p.m., with a consolation game between Rivier and Stevens Tech preceding at 1 p.m.

Amherst got a dominating double-double performance by junior center Pat Fitzsimons (Durham, NC), who finished with a career-high 24 points and 14 rebounds in the opener. Junior point guard Ryan Faulkner (Lebanon, NH) set Fitzsimons up all evening long en route to a game-high 10 assists. Sophomore sharpshooter John Donovan (Holmdel, NJ) was the only other Amherst player in double figures with 10 points on the strength of 4-for-6 shooting and a pair of three-pointers.

Despite the lopsided final score it wasn't always easy going for the Jeffs, who fell victim to a 13-5 River run at the start of the game. Amherst responded with a 15-2 run of its own, with Fitzsimons scoring 10 points over a 7:07 stretch on a trio of putbacks, a dunk and two free throws. The Jeffs never looked back, as Fitzsimons cemented a 42-26 halftime lead with a transition layup off a steal and feed by junior tri-captain forward Steve Zieja (Hadley, MA).

The second half was all Amherst, as the Jeffs emptied their bench and led by as many as 26 points down the stretch, capped by a steal and layup by first-year guard Russell Lee (Lorton, VA) in the waning seconds to set the final score at 80-54.

Rivier placed three players in double figures in defeat; junior guard Aaron Lopez (Nashua, NH) with 15 points and senior forwards Jake Kurt (Nashua, NH) and Dan Caruso (Nashua, NH) with 14 and 13 points, respectively. The Raiders fell to 3-2 with the loss.

The evening's real drama came in the second game between Vassar and Stevens Tech. Trailing 58-56 with 1:36 left in regulation, Tech first-year forward Daniel Jordan (Point Pleasant, NJ) knotted the score with an offensive rebound and tip-in off a missed jumper by classmate Pat McCann (Long Beach, NY). Vassar had a chance to win it two possessions later, but first-year guard Judson Winton's (San Francisco, CA) attempt at a running buzzer-beater drew front iron, sending the game into overtime.

Vassar dominated the extra session from its first possession, opening up a 7-0 run, keyed by a pair of clutch three-pointers by Winton and fellow first-year guard Seth Taft (Philadelphia, PA). From there, the Brewers cemented the win from the charity stripe, drilling eight consecutive free throws over the final 37 seconds, improving their record to 4-1 on the season.

Taft led all scorers with 22 points, including four three-pointers, while sophomore teammate Steffen Ringlemann (San Francisco, CA) added 16 points and five rebounds. Jordan paced four Stevens Tech players in double figures with 17 points. The Ducks fell to 0-4 with the loss.

Click HERE for full Amherst/Rivier box score...

Click HERE for full Vassar/Stevens Tech box score...