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John Donovan '04
Senior John Donovan tied a career high with 25 points in Saturday's second-round win over Plymouth State.

Fifth-Ranked Jeffs to Play N.J. City in Friday's NCAA Sectionals, Hosted by Franklin & Marshall

March 8, 2004

AMHERST, MA - The NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Championship Tournament is down to 16 teams and sites and times for sectional play were announced on Sunday. Fifth-ranked Amherst College (25-3) - which advanced to the Round of 16 for the third straight season with Saturday’s 113-85 second-round win over visiting Plymouth State - will travel to Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Penn., to take on New Jersey City University (22-6) Friday at 6 p.m., followed by an 8 p.m. sectional game between host Franklin & Marshall (25-3) and Gwynedd-Mercy College (24-2). The winners will meet Saturday at 7 p.m. with a trip to the national semifinals and championship game - held March 21-22 at the Salem (VA) Civic Center - at stake.

Ticket prices are $4 for adults and $3 for senior citizens, students and children over 2-years-old. One ticket purchase is good for both games on Friday.

Amherst shot 50.8% (33-for-65) overall and a scorching 54.2% (13-for-24) from three-point range in Saturday’s lopsided victory over Plymouth State. Senior guard Adam Harper (Washington, DC) finished with a team- and career-high 29 points, while classmate John Donovan (Holmdel, NJ) tied a career-high with 25, including his 1,000th career point on a free throw in the first half. Senior forward Tim Jones (Richmond, VA), who entered the game with a whopping .641 field goal percentage, dominated the low post with 19 points on 7-for-10 shooting and a career-high 12 rebounds. Junior forward Andrew Schiel (Wayne, PA) chipped in with 15 points and six boards, while sophomore guard John Bedford (Ridgewood, NJ) shook off an ankle injury with 14 points off the bench. Junior point guard Russell Lee (Lorton, VA) was spectacular off the bench as well with a career-high 11 assists in just 24 minutes. Harper - the two-time NESCAC Defensive Player of the Year - had three steals in the game and now has 97 on the season, leaving him just six shy of the college’s single-season record, held by Keith Poopor ’96. He already holds the Amherst career record with 313 steals, and is 12th on the college’s all-time scoring list with 1,158 career points.

Amherst is making its seventh overall and fifth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, advancing to the national quarterfinals in 1994, 2003 and 2004, the NCAA Round of 16 in 2002 and the NCAA second round in 1997, 2000 and 2001. The Jeffs are 9-6 all-time in NCAA Tournament play.

Amherst and unranked New Jersey City - which last appeared in the NCAA Tournament in 1999 - have never met, but the Gothic Knights are no stranger to the postseason. The New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Champions are making their 16th NCAA Tournament appearance since 1973 with a 17-16 all-time record, advancing to the national quarterfinals four times (1979, 1980, 1986, and 1992) along the way. NJCU’s two all-conference players, senior guard Samar Battle - the NJAC Player of the Year - and sophomore forward Mark Washington, led the way in Saturday’s 74-67 second-round win over visiting Lycoming. Battle poured in 13 points on lukewarm 4-of-14 shooting, but added seven boards (six offensive) and two blocks. Washington was 5-for-10 for 13 points, a team-high eight rebounds, four assists and three steals. Amherst and the Gothic Knights have one common opponent this season - NJCU fell at Williams College, 76-65, on January 3rd.

Ninth-ranked Franklin & Marshall, which knocked off sixth-ranked Hampden-Sydney, 78-76, to advance to the round of 16, hosts the NCAA Sectionals for the first time since 1996. The Diplomats have advanced to the national semifinals four times (1979, 1991, 1996, 2000) in 18 previous NCAA Tournament appearances (1975, 1977, 1979, 1981, 1984, 1986-1996, 1999, 2000). In Saturday’s second-round win, senior guard Jackiem Wright led five starters in double figures with 18 points. Senior point guard Duran Searles added 17 points, senior center Steve Juskin chipped in with 13, sophomore forward Brandon Smith finished with 12 and junior forward Bobby Lynch notched 11 in the winning effort.

Amherst and Franklin & Marshall have met in the NCAA Tournament once before. Making their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance in 1994, the Jeffs upset the No. 1-ranked Diplomats 80-71 on their home court, before falling to eventual national champion Lebanon Valley in the national quarterfinals.

After drawing a first-round bye (as did Amherst, Franklin & Marshall and New Jersey City) in its first-ever NCAA Tournament, 18th-ranked Gwynedd-Mercy advanced to the NCAA Sectionals with a 74-72 overtime win over visiting Catholic University. Trailing 60-57 with three seconds remaining, Catholic drained a three-pointer to knot the score at the end of regulation, but Gwynedd-Mercy shot 6-of-10 from the free throw line to ice the win in the extra session. Badou Gaye paced the Griffins with 21 points, while teammate Jolon Davis added 10 points and 11 rebounds. For a complete tournament bracket and updated scores, visit www.ncaachampionships.com or www.D3hoops.com.

    AMHERST IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT: Seventh appearance / 9-6 all-time (6-0 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… beat visiting Plymouth State, 113-85, in second round)