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John Casnocha '06
Sophomore swingman John Casnocha poured in a career-high 17 points on Tuesday night, including a pair of backbreaking trifectas late in the second half.

Corrigan, Schiel, Casnocha Lead 10th-Ranked Jeffs Past No. 21 Clark, 81-66

December 2, 2003

WORCESTER, MA - Behind 17-point outings from junior point guard Ray Corrigan (Queens, NY), junior forward Andrew Schiel (Wayne, PA) and sophomore swingman John Casnocha (San Francisco, CA), the 10th-ranked Amherst College men’s basketball team passed its first true test of the season, downing 21st-ranked regional power Clark University 81-66 on its home court on Tuesday night.

Casnocha and Corrigan’s point totals were both career-highs. Corrigan dished out a game-high seven assists as well, while Casnocha and senior forward Tim Jones (Richmond, VA) grabbed eight rebounds each. Schiel chipped in with seven boards and six blocks, and senior guard Adam Harper added a game-high six steals to go along with nine points.

Amherst (4-0), which entered the game with an average scoring margin of +43.0 and a trio of lopsided wins to its credit, played strong early on, opening up a 19-10 lead off a mid-range jumper by Casnocha and a breakaway layup by sophomore guard John Bedford (Ridgewood, NJ), precipitated by one of five Harper steals in the first half.

Clark battled back with a 14-4 flurry, capped by a free throw by senior forward Trevor Walker (Milford, MA), which gave the host Cougars their first lead of the game, 24-23, with 3:56 left before the break. Not to be outdone, Schiel hit a free throw and ripped a three-pointer from the right corner to put the Jeffs back on top 29-28 at halftime.

Clark regained the upper hand twice more at the start of the second half, taking a 32-31 lead on a wing jumper by senior Brent Kenneway (Sturbridge, MA) and jumping in front again 39-36 on a long-range bomb by junior Justin Kimball (Ithaca, NY). Amherst senior sharpshooter John Donovan (Holmdel, NJ) pick-pocketed the Cougars’ momentum with a personal 5-0 run, however, and the Jeffs scored 12 of the game’s next 16 points to take a 10-point lead they would never relinquish.

Casnocha played big down the stretch, atoning for a pair of missed 1-and-1 opportunities with consecutive backbreaking trifectas around the four-minute mark. Meanwhile, Corrigan split the Cougars’ zone press like a hot knife through margarine, scoring five of the Jeffs’ final seven points and converting a pair of three-point plays in the closing minutes.

Although it didn’t show up in the scoring column, Jones had a particularly strong game, especially in the first half, carrying the Jeffs on the glass with three offensive rebounds and a pair of key putback buckets. Bedford was a major factor as well, pouring in nine points on 4-for-8 shooting and doing his part against Clark’s pressure defense.

The victory was Amherst’s second straight over Clark, which - prior to last season’s 68-62 Lord Jeff win in Amherst - had dominated the series in recent years, scoring overtime wins in 1999 and 2000, as well as an 89-76 victory in the second round of the 2001 NCAA Tournament that ended Amherst’s season at 22-6.

Clark fell to 1-1 with Tuesday’s loss.

Amherst returns to action Friday and Saturday at the Third-Annual Pioneer Valley Classic, hosted by Springfield College. The Jeffs open tournament play Friday at 6 p.m. against Western New England College.

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