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Amherst Bombs WNEC at Pioneer Valley Hoop Classic, 75-60

December 7, 2001

Ryan Faulkner '03
Junior guard Ryan Faulkner finished with 10 points, five assists and three steals
SPRINGFIELD, MA - Junior center Steve Zieja (Hadley, MA) tallied game-highs of 27 points and 15 rebounds to lead the 13th ranked Amherst College men's basketball team to a 75-60 blowout win over host Western New England College at the Inaugural Pioneer Valley Hoop Classic on Friday. Zieja's monster night included 10 offensive rebounds and a 6-for-8 showing from the free throw line, as the Jeffs rebounded from Tuesday night's loss at Clark University to improve to 4-1 on the season.

After leading by 12 points (38-26) at the break, Amherst built its largest lead at 52-31 when Zieja drilled a three-pointer from the left wing with 15:18 left in regulation. WNEC battled back and managed to cut the lead to eight (64-56) when senior forward Jeff Schrandt (Avon, CT) converted a three-point play with 4:09 remaining. It was all Amherst from there, however, as the Jeff defense smothered the Golden Bears, holding them to just four points down the stretch.

Senior forward Pat Taverna (Whitesboro, NY) added 12 points, four rebounds, three blocked shots and two steals for Amherst, while junior guard Ryan Faulkner (Lebanon, NH) finished with 10 points, five assists and three steals.

WNEC (3-3) received a solid performance from senior center Andy Thornton (Chicopee, MA), who poured in 17 points and grabbed a team-high eight rebounds in defeat.

Tournament play continues on Saturday with Amherst taking on Westfield State College at 4 p.m., followed by WNEC and Springfield at 6 p.m. Because of the Classic format, there will be no tournament champion.

Click HERE for full box score...