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Hixon Wins 399th as Jeffs Down Westfield at Pioneer Valley Hoop Classic

December 8, 2001

Head Coach Dave Hixon
Head coach Dave Hixon chalked up his 399th career win against Westfield
SPRINGFIELD, MA - After a 27-point, 15-rebound performance against Western New England College on Friday, Amherst College junior forward Steve Zieja (Hadley, MA) posted game-highs of 19 points and nine rebounds on Saturday, as the Jeffs dismantled Westfield State College, 75-64, in the final round of the Inaugural Pioneer Valley Hoop Classic, hosted by WNEC. The win was the 399th of Amherst head coach David Hixon's 25-year career. The 1975 Amherst graduate has an all-time record of 399-198, and will look to pick up his milestone 400th victory Tuesday night against visiting Worcester State.

Amherst (5-1) led 33-31 at the break, but upset-minded Westfield St. (2-6) used a 10-0 run - capped by sophomore forward Vaso Jaukovic's (Montenegro, Yugoslavia) running one-hander - to take a 41-35 lead with 14:28 left in regulation. The Jeffs responded with a 22-7 run over the next eight minutes, as sophomore sharpshooter John Donovan (Holmdel, NH) drilled a three-pointer with 6:32 remaining to give Amherst a 57-48 lead.

Westfield St. pulled to within four, 57-53, following a pair of free throws by junior guard Mitch Mitchell (Carver, MA), but it was too little, too late as Amherst pulled away from the fatigued Owls down the stretch.

Amherst junior center Pat Fitzsimons (Durham, NC) joined Zieja in double figures with 16 points, while Donovan poured in 13 off the bench. Jaukovic led four Westfield St. players in double figures with 17 points, followed by senior forwards Bryant James (Holyoke, MA) and Ryan Rea (Winstead, CT) with 12 and 11 points, respectively. Because of the Classic format, no tournament champion was named.

Amherst returns to action Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., as Hixon vies for his 400th career win against visiting Worcester St.

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