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Amherst College > Athletics > Men's Basketball > Jeffs Claim Little Three Title with Win Over Wesleyan
   
John Bedford '06
Junior John Bedford led the way with 24 points on 9-for-13 shooting.

Seventh-Ranked Jeffs Remain Undefeated in NESCAC Play, Clinch Outright Little Three Title with 68-58 Win Over Wesleyan

January 21, 2005

AMHERST, MA - The seventh-ranked Amherst College menís basketball team clinched its first outright Little Three Championship (decided annually between Amherst, Williams and Wesleyan) since the 2000-01 season with a 68-58 NESCAC win over visiting Wesleyan University on Friday night. Junior guard John Bedford (Ridgewood, NJ) led the way with 24 points on 9-for-13 shooting as the Jeffs improved to 12-1 overall and 2-0 in conference play. Wesleyan (11-6/2-1 NESCAC) junior center Robert Kelly (Springfield, MA) poured in 28 points and grabbed nine rebounds in defeat.

Amherst and Wesleyan traded buckets over the first 10 minutes until the Jeffs pulled ahead 22-14 with an 8-0 run, capped by a three-pointer with the shot clock winding down by rookie point guard Andrew Olson (San Diego, CA). Olson finished with 10 points and four assists and played 37 minutes without committing a turnover.

Wesleyan held its deficit to single digits for the rest of the half and cut Amherstís lead to just three points (29-26) at the break when sophomore guard Jared Ashe (Stamford, CT), who tallied 20 points and eight rebounds on the night, nailed a runner with 37 ticks on the clock.

The Cardinals hung tough after the intermission and tied the score 34-34 with 16:31 remaining on yet another Ashe layup. Amherst responded with a jumper by senior Andrew Schiel (Wayne, PA), but Kelly knotted the score again with a bank shot in the paint. Senior guard Russell Lee (Lorton, VA) then drained a three to return the lead to Amherst, but Ashe fired back with a pair of layups and a free throw to put the Cardinals up 39-37 with 14:23 to go. Not to be outdone, Olson evened the score off a give-and-go feed from junior John Casnocha (San Francisco, CA) and then gave the Jeffs a 40-39 advantage they would never relinquish with a charity toss after being hacked by Wesleyan rookie Mike Raymond (Newton Highlands, MA). Raymond would exit the game shortly thereafter with an ankle injury.

Amherst held on down the stretch and pushed the lead to double digits for the first time when Lee nailed his second long-range bomb with 2:02 left in regulation. Schiel then punctuated the win with a one-handed tomahawk jam off a slick fast-break feed from Olson, and Wesleyan fouled in the final minute, to no avail.

Lee joined Bedford and Olson in double figures with 11 points, while sophomore Tim McLaughlin (Chatham, NJ) paced Amherst on the boards with seven rebounds, which tied his career-high.

The Jeffs won back-to-back Little Three titles in 1999-00 and 2000-2001 before sharing the crown with Williams in 2001-02, 2002-03 and 2003-04.

Amherst returns to action tomorrow (Saturday) at 1 p.m. against visiting NESCAC foe Connecticut College. The game was originally scheduled for 3 p.m. but was switched to 1 p.m. due to the threat of inclement weather.

BOX SCORE/PLAY-BY-PLAY