Tenth-ranked Jeffs Hold Off Bowdoin in NESCAC Quarterfinals Behind Fitzsimons' 20 Points, 17 Boards
February 22, 2003
Ginn came out firing after the break, cutting the lead to just three points right off the bat with a pair of long-range bombs. Amherst senior Steve Zieja (Hadley, MA) pushed the lead back to eight points with a baseline jumper and his only three-pointer of the game.
Faulkner then took over, nailing a runner and setting up each of the Jeffs’ next five field goals, including yet another no-look dish to a cutting Fitzsimons, who tomahawked his second jam of the day for a 51-43 Amherst cushion. Faulkner dropped a game-high eight dimes on the afternoon, and the Jeffs led by 10 points when he exited the game for a brief respite with 11:34 remaining.
Bowdoin managed to turn it into a one-possession game on three occasions over the final five minutes, most dramatically when senior guard Braden Clement (Skowhegan, ME) nailed a 12-footer to bring the Polar Bears within three points, 66-63, with 2:53 remaining. Amherst calmly pushed the lead back to 11 points with a 10-2 run and nailed 10 of its last 13 free throws to seal the win down the stretch.
With Fitzsimons dominating the glass, Amherst won the battle of the boards 47-31, including a 17-8 advantage on the offensive end. Zieja and junior guard Adam Harper (Washington, DC) joined Fitzsimons in double figures with 20 and 11 points, respectively. Harper also snagged a game-high four steals.
First-year forward Kyle Petrie (Iowa City, IA) finished with 14 points and nine rebounds for Bowdoin, which ends its season at 10-14. Yakavonis added 12 points and six boards.
Tenth-ranked Amherst (21-3) will host the NESCAC Tournament semifinals and championship game next Saturday and Sunday. Saturday’s semifinals will pit the Jeffs against Little Three rival Wesleyan University at 2 p.m., followed by a 4 p.m. matchup between Williams College and Tufts University. The winner of Sunday’s championship game will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Box Score / Play-by-Play
2003 NESCAC TOURNAMENT
First Round - Saturday, February 22
No. 8 Bowdoin 67 at No. 1 Amherst 78
No. 7 Bates 69 at No. 2 Williams 85
No. 6 Middlebury 81 at No. 3 Tufts 89
No. 5 Trinity 76 at No. 4 Wesleyan at 88
Semifinals at Amherst (Saturday, March 1)
No. 1 Amherst vs. No. 4 Wesleyan (2 p.m.*)
No. 2 Williams vs. No. 3 Tufts (4 p.m.*)
* - times subject to change
Championship at Amherst - Semifinal winners (Sunday, March 2 at Noon)