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Amherst College > Athletics > Men's Basketball > Jeffs Outlast Vassar

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

December 1, 2001

Steve Zieja '03
Steve Zieja tallied game and season-highs of 26 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Jeffs
AMHERST, MA - Junior All-Tournament selection Steve Zieja (Hadley, MA) tallied game and season-highs of 26 points and 13 rebounds to lead the host Amherst College men's basketball team past visiting Vassar College, 79-68, in the championship game of the First-Annual Ken Wright '52 Memorial Invitational on Saturday. Junior Tournament MVP Pat Fitzsimons (Durham, NC) added 13 points and nine rebounds, after a 24-point, 14-rebound performance in the Jeffs' first-round win over Rivier College on Friday.

Amherst led by as many as 24 points in the first half on the strength of a 21-3 run midway through the opening period. Zieja poured in eight points during the run, which was capped by a clean strip and lay-in by first-year guard Ray Corrigan (Queens, NY) with just over three minutes before the break. After Vassar responded with a mini-run of its own, Corrigan sent the Jeffs into the locker room with a running one-handed buzzer-beater from well behind the three-point arc that cemented Amherst's halftime lead at 45-27.

The second half took on a different tone as the pesky Brewers used tenacious defense to steadily chip away at Amherst's advantage. Vassar sophomore guard Steffen Ringelmann (San Francisco, CA) drilled a pair of three-pointers to cut the Brewer deficit to just five points, 61-56, with 8:44 remaining. Zieja responded with a transition finger-roll off a pretty feed from junior point guard Ryan Faulkner (Lebanon, NH) - who dished out a game-high seven assists on the afternoon - and sophomore sharpshooter John Donovan (Holmdel, NJ) followed with his second trifecta of the game to stretch Amherst's lead back to 10 points. The two teams traded buckets over the next 1:10 before Snodgrass drained yet another long-range bomb for Vassar. He and first-year guard Seth Taft (Philadelphia, PA) trimmed another four points from the free throw line, making it a two-point game with 3:20 remaining. Amherst used a timeout by head coach David Hixon to regroup and answered by scoring 11 of the game's next 13 points to seal the win, including a 5-for-6 showing from the charity stripe down the stretch.

Aside from Zieja and Fitzsimons, Corrigan had his best game as a Jeff with nine points, six assists and three steals. Ringelmann was by far the Brewers' leading scorer with 24 points on 7-for-13 shooting, including a 4-for-6 showing from behind the arc. Amherst improved to 3-0 with the win, while Vassar fell to 4-2.

Earlier in the afternoon, Stevens Tech notched its first win of the season, 78-70, over Rivier College, in the tournament's consolation round. Senior guard Jeff Houser (Hewitt, NJ) led four Tech players in double figures with 21 points, as the Ducks improved to 1-4. Junior guard Aaron Lopez (Nashua, NH) paced Rivier (3-3) with a team-high 14 points in defeat.

Lopez earned All-Tournament honors for Rivier, while Houser was Stevens Tech's lone representative and Ringelmann earned All-Tournament honors for Vassar. Donovan was an all-tournament selection for Amherst, along with Zieja and Fitzsimons.

Amherst returns to action Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at non-league foe Clark University in a rematch of last year's NCAA second-round game, which the Jeffs dropped, 89-76, in Worcester.

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

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