Junior forward Andrew Schiel netted 23 points and grabbed a game-high eight rebounds in Friday's sectional-semifinal win.
Fifth-Ranked Jeffs Cruise to 92-74 Victory Over New Jersey City in NCAA Sectional Semifinals
March 12, 2004
LANCASTER, PA - The Amherst College men’s basketball team advanced to the NCAA Div. III Sectional Finals (Round of eight) with a 92-74 victory over New Jersey City University (NJCU) in the sectional semifinals, hosted by Franklin & Marshall College on Friday night. The Jeffs placed six players in double figures as they shot a scorching 60.7% from the field, including 70.8% (17-for24) shooting in the second half. They move on to play ninth-ranked host Franklin & Marshall, which bested visiting Gwynedd-Mercy College 92-74 in the other semifinal matchup, 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.
The Jeffs started slow, notching only six points in the first five minutes and trailing the Gothic Knights 12-6. However, Amherst battled back as senior guard Adam Harper (Washington, DC) evened the score at 18-18, capitalizing off a NJCU turnover, and classmate John Donovan (Holmdel, NJ) gave the Jeffs the lead for the first time as junior point guard Russell Lee (Lorton, VA) scrapped for an offensive rebound and found him for the score. The lead swapped hands twice more over the next four minutes, but Amherst would eventually pull away and build a nine-point lead, 41-32, at the break led by 12 points from sophomore guard John Bedford (Ridgewood, NJ). NCJU senior Samar Battle (E. Orange, NJ) and first-year Abraham Williams (Jersey City, NJ) paced the Gothic Knights in the first-half each scoring 10 points.
Amherst exploded out of the locker room with a 10-0 run over the first 2:30, extending their lead to 19 points, 51-32. Junior point guard Ray Corrigan (Queens, NY) put in a pair of one-handed runners during the stretch, while Harper and Donovan each netted a three. The Gothic Knights responded with full-court pressure and were able to force nine second-half turnovers. They cut the lead to 14 points, 54-40, on a Kareem Collins (Hillside, NJ) layup with 15:28 remaining, and pulled within 14 again, 60-46, at the 11:44-mark. However, Amherst junior Andrew Schiel took advantage of a NJCU turnover for a layup, and on the ensuing possession Harper fed him on the fast break for a thunderous dunk to pull the Jeffs away for good. Amherst built its lead as high as 23 points, the largest deficit NJCU had seen all season, down the stretch and cruised to the victory.
Battle led all scorers with 26 points, while collecting six boards. Joining him in double figures were Collins with 13 points and Williams with 10 points and a team-high four steals. The Gothic Knights end their season at 22-7.
Schiel carried the load for Amherst, netting 23 points on 11-for-20 shooting from the field and collecting a game-high eight rebounds. Bedford finished with 16 points and six rebounds, while Harper added 14 points and five rebounds, and Donovan filled the box score with 11 points, five boards, five assists and a career- and game-high five steals. Corrigan and senior forward Tim Jones (Richmond, VA) rounded out the Jeffs in double figures with 10 points each.
Amherst (26-3) advances to the NCAA Tournament Sectional Finals for the second consecutive year, losing last year’s contest at Williams 91-75. The Jeffs improved to 10-6 all-time in NCAA Tournament play and play for a bid to their first-ever trip to the Final Four on Saturday. Amherst and Franklin & Marshall last met in 1994 in the Round of 16 of the NCAA Tournament. The Jeffs ended the then top-ranked Diplomats’ perfect season, dealing them their first loss, 80-71, after 28 consecutive victories that season.
For a complete tournament bracket and updated scores, visit www.ncaachampionships.com or www.D3hoops.com.
AMHERST IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT: Seventh appearance / 10-6 all-time (6-0 home, 4-6 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... beat New Jersey City, 92-74, in Round of 16)