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No. 13 Amherst Falls at Clark, 87-77

December 4, 2001

Steve Zieja '03
Junior tri-captain Steve Zieja tallied game-highs of 16 points and 10 rebounds in the loss
WORCESTER, MA - In a rematch of last year's NCAA Tournament second-round game, the 13th-ranked Amherst College men's basketball team fell at No. 25 Clark University, 87-77, on Tuesday, despite team-highs of 16 points and 10 rebounds by junior forward Steve Zieja (Hadley, MA). The host Cougars shot 22-for-26 from the charity stripe and outrebounded the Jeffs 39-27, improving to 5-2 with the victory. Amherst fell to 3-1 with the loss.

The Jeffs trailed most of the game after Clark opened with a 7-2 run, but managed to battle back and take a one-point lead with 6:07 remaining. Undaunted, the Cougars responded with a flurry of threes, including a long-range bomb by senior Amos Anderson (N. Easton, MA) that gave Clark a seven-point lead with 2:30 left in regulation. Junior Sean Fleming (Smithfield, RI) - who tied Anderson with a team-high 17 points - then hit four free throws in the final minute to seal the victory for Clark.

Zieja paced four Amherst players in double figures, including first-year forward Andrew Schiel (Abbington, PA), who poured in a career-high 16 points. First-year guard Ray Corrigan (Queens, NY) and sophomore sharpshooter John Donovan (Holmdel, NJ) added 14 and 11 points respectively for the Jeffs, while junior point guard Ryan Faulkner (Lebanon, NH) dished out a team-high five assists.

The Amherst-Clark rivalry has evolved into one of the best in the nation. In last season's NCAA Tournament matchup, the Jeffs, who ended their season at 22-6, rebounded from a four-point halftime deficit to take a five-point lead, 55-50 with 11:40 remaining, before Clark used outstanding defensive intensity and bench-play to mount a 16-2 run in the last 10 minutes to advance to the NCAA "Sweet-16" for the first time in over a decade.

It was the second of two great matchups between the Jeffs and Cougars in 2000-01. Amherst fell to Clark in triple-overtime earlier in the season in what was the longest and highest-scoring game in school-history, despite a career-high 39 points from the graduated Brian Daoust '01, who tied a school-record with nine three-pointers.

Amherst returns to action on Friday and Saturday for the First-Annual Pioneer Valley Invitational Tournament, hosted by Western New England College. The Jeffs will take on host WNEC Friday night at 5:30, and play Westfield State Saturday at 4 p.m., also at WNEC.

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