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Amherst College > Athletics > Men's Basketball > Jeffs Rout So. Vermont in NCAA 2nd Rd.
Andrew Schiel '05
Sophomore forward Andrew Schiel dropped a trio of three-pointers on the Mountaineers en route to 18 points.

11th-Ranked Men's Basketball Advances to NCAA Round of 16 with 84-60 Win Over Southern Vermont

March 8, 2003

AMHERST, MA - Thanks to a 21-5 explosion at the start of the second half, 11th-ranked Amherst College routed visiting Southern Vermont 84-60 in the second round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Tournament on Saturday night. The victory propels the Jeffs into the NCAA Sectionals (Round of 16) for the second straight season, where they’ll face defending sectional champion Rochester - 73-62 winners over Western Connecticut - on Friday night at a site to be determined.

Amherst junior guard Adam Harper (Washington, DC) led the way with a game-high 21 points, three steals and five rebounds, while sophomore sharpshooter Andrew Schiel (Wayne, PA) racked up 18 points on 6-for-9 shooting, including a scorching 3-for-4 showing from the three-point arc. Harper canned five three-pointers as well, as the Jeffs improved to 23-4, setting a new school record for wins in a season.

Amherst led 36-32 at the break but trailed at several junctions in the early going, due in part to nine first half points by Southern Vermont sophomore Julio Ramirez, who finished with a team-high 16. The pesky Mountaineers took a 20-18 lead on a Ramirez jumper with 8:28 left before the half and tied the score 28-28 on a three-pointer by senior forward Drew Santandera (Averill Park, NY) with 3:45 remaining.

That was as close as they would get. Schiel answered with his first three-pointer, followed by another trey from junior guard John Donovan (Holmdel, NJ), which led to a four-point halftime cushion and more perimeter fireworks in the second half.

“We figured they’d collapse on defense but they ended up collapsing even more than we thought,” said Amherst head coach Dave Hixon, who has guided the Jeffs into the last four NCAA Tournaments. “We were excited because we realized what they were doing. We came out and were able to capitalize in the second half by kicking the ball to our outside shooters.”

That they did. After senior forward Steve Zieja (Hadley, MA) opened with a wing floater and hit a layup off a nifty feed by classmate Ryan Faulkner (Lebanon, NH), who handed out a game-high 11 assists, Harper, Zieja and Donovan all hit threes, the last of which put the Jeffs up by 20 points, 53-37, with 14:21 left in regulation. The long-range bombing continued as Harper, Schiel, first-year John Bedford (Ridgewood, NJ) and sophomore Russell Lee (Lorton, VA) combined for six more three-pointers down the stretch, sending the capacity home crowd into a frenzy and numbing a strong (and loud) Southern Vermont contingent.

The Jeffs hit eight of 15 three-point attempts in the second half and ended up shooting 50% (15-for-30) overall from downtown. Southern Vermont was hurt by poor free throw shooting, finishing just 5-for-13 from the charity stripe. They end their season, and their first-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament, at 24-6.

Zieja joined Harper and Schiel in double figures with 17 points to go along with six rebounds and three assists. Senior center Pat Fitzsimons (Durham, NC) added game-highs of 10 rebounds and three blocks.

Amherst is now 5-0 at home in its six NCAA Tournament appearances.

The win sets up a possible showdown with archrival Williams College - second-round winners over Salem State - in the NCAA Sectional finals. Williams is the odds-on favorite to host the Round of 16, and opens sectional play Friday night against Hamilton College.

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