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John Donovan '04
Senior tri-captain John Donovan is the Jeffs' top three-point threat with 56 trifectas on the year.

Opponent Set for Saturday; Men's Basketball to Host Plymouth State in NCAA Tournament Second Round

March 5, 2004

AMHERST, MA - The Amherst College men’s basketball team will host Plymouth State University in the second round of the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament Saturday night at 7:00. The Jeffs - who have never lost an NCAA Tournament game at LeFrak Gymnasium (5-0) - drew one of 16 first-round byes, while PSU advanced to the second round with Thursday night’s 75-57 home win over Castleton State.

Ticket prices are $4 for adults and $3 for students with valid ID. Children under 5 are free. Doors at LeFrak Gymnasium will open at 5:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast locally, and live on the Internet, by Amherst’s campus radio station, WAMH (89.3 FM).

Saturday night’s winner will advance to the NCAA Sectionals (Round of 16) and face either New Jersey City University (21-6), which drew a first-round bye, or Lycoming College (21-7), which edged Lehman College, 74-68, in a first-round matchup on Thursday. Sectional play will take place on Friday and Saturday, March 12-13, at an on-campus site to be determined. For a complete tournament bracket and updated scores, visit www.ncaachampionships.com or www.D3hoops.com.

At 24-3 and ranked fifth nationally, Amherst earned an at-large bid to its fifth straight NCAA Tournament after securing the No. 3 seed in the NESCAC Tournament, where it fell to top-seeded and No. 1-ranked Williams College in the championship game. The Jeffs are led by First-Team All-NESCAC senior guard Adam Harper (Washington, DC), who was named the NESCAC Defensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive season on Tuesday. Currently tops in the NESCAC in steals (94), ninth in free throw percentage (.753) and 17th in scoring (11.9 ppg), Harper is Amherst’s all-time steals leader with 310 (and counting). He’s also just nine steals shy of the college’s single-season record of 103, held by Keith Poopor ’96, and is Amherst’s 12th all-time leading scorer with 1,129 career points.

His counterpart in the backcourt is fellow senior tri-captain John Donovan (Holmdel, NJ), the Jeffs’ top three-point threat with 56 trifectas. Donovan is just 10 points shy of becoming only the 18th Amherst player to crack the career 1,000-point plateau.

Another senior, tri-captain forward Tim Jones (Richmond, VA), provides a potent low post scoring threat. Jones leads the NESCAC with a whopping .641 field goal percentage and, at 10.0 points per game, is one of five Amherst players averaging in double-figures scoring. He’s also Amherst’s second leading rebounder at 5.4 boards per game.

Juniors Andrew Schiel (Wayne, PA) and Ray Corrigan (Queens, NY) round out the starting five. Schiel, a Second-Team All-NESCAC forward, is Amherst’s leading scorer (13.6 ppg) and rebounder (5.5 rpg) and leads the Jeffs and the NESCAC with 47 blocks. Corrigan runs the show at point guard, dishing out a league third-best 4.7 assists on a nightly basis.

One of Amherst’s greatest assets, however, is the strength of its reserves. Sophomore guard John Bedford (Ridgewood, NJ) heads the list as the Jeffs’ third leading scorer (11.8 ppg), rebounder (5.0 rpg) and one of the team’s top defenders. Junior point guard Russell Lee (Lorton, VA) has been similarly impressive off the bench as witnessed by his 27-point outburst in Amherst’s 87-78 win over then 15th-ranked Trinity College in the NESCAC Tournament semifinals. Junior slasher John Casnocha (San Francisco, CA), one of the conference’s top three-point threats early-on, has missed most of the second half of the season due to injury but may yet return in the postseason. Look for rookies Dan Wheeler (Bloomington, MN), Dan O’Shea (Lawrence, MA) and Tim McLaughlin (Chatham, NJ) to contribute as well.

Plymouth State - 24-5 and ranked sixth in the Northeast - fell to Keene State in the Little East Conference Championship game but earned an at-large bid nonetheless. The Panthers had little trouble with NCAA first-round opponent Castleton State, thanks in large part to 6-1 rookie forward Andreas Pope’s (Brooklyn, NY) team-high 19 points on 6-for-7 shooting, including a trio of thunderous dunks. With the victory, Plymouth State extended its school record for wins in a season. The previous mark was set by the 1998-99 squad, which finished 22-8. The only other Panther squad to participate in the NCAA Tournament was the 1996 team, which lost at Williams College in the first round.

    AMHERST IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT: Seventh appearance / 8-6 all-time (5-0 home, 3-6 road)
  • 1993-94 (Qualified for the NCAA Tournament in its first year of eligibility… drew first-round bye… won at Colby in second round… beat the No. 1 team in the nation, Franklin & Marshall College, which entered the game with only one loss, in the Round of 16… Fell to eventual national champion Lebanon Valley in the national quarterfinals)
  • 1996-97 (Beat visiting Colby, 83-60, in first round… fell at Williams, 86-63, in second round)
  • 1999-00 (Beat visiting WNEC, 79-77, in first round… fell at Salem State, 81-75, in second round)
  • 2000-01 (Beat visiting St. John Fisher, 89-76, in first round… fell at Clark, 89-76, in second round)
  • 2001-02 (First-round bye… beat visiting Western Connecticut State, 82-77, in second round… fell at SUNY Brockport, 69-64, in Round of 16)
  • 2002-03 (First-round bye… beat visiting Southern Vermont, 84-60, in second round… beat Rochester, 74-68, in Round of 16… fell at Sectional host Williams, 91-75, in National Quarterfinals)
  • 2003-04 (First-round bye… host Plymouth State in second round)