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Dan Wheeler '07
Sophomore Dan Wheeler poured in eight points and dished out three assists in just 14 minutes.

Fourth-Ranked Jeffs Secure NESCAC Regular-Season Crown, Top Seed in NESCAC Tourney with 94-61 Pounding at Tufts

FROM A TUFTS UNIVERSITY RELEASE

February 12, 2005

MEDFORD, MA - Amherst College posted an emphatic 94-61 victory at Tufts University on Saturday to win the NESCAC men’s basketball regular-season title and the No. 1 seed in the upcoming conference tournament.

The Jeffs (22-1 overall), ranked fourth in the D3Hoops.com national poll, finished the NESCAC schedule with a perfect 9-0 mark. They have won 15 games in a row. Tufts, the surprise team in NESCAC this year after winning only two conference games last season, dropped to 15-9 overall and will be the second seed in the tournament with their 7-2 league record.

The meeting between first-place Amherst and second-place Tufts in the regular-season finale for both had plenty of pregame buildup, with the winner earning the regular-season crown. However, visiting Amherst lit it up in the first half and took any excitement away from a near capacity crowd at Tufts’ Cousens Gym. The Lord Jeffs shot over 70 percent for most of the first half and were 17 for 26 at halftime (65.4 percent). They led as large as 44-21 on a lay-up by senior co-captain Andrew Schiel (Wayne, PA) with 3:38 on the clock. Senior Russell Lee (Lorton, VA) led Amherst with 12 points in the first half, including two of their seven three-pointers.

The Jumbos were fortunate to trail only 48-34 at the break, thanks to a three-point play by freshman Jake Weitzen (New York, NY) late in the half. His 10 points led the Jumbos at the half as the Jeffs were able to hold Tufts leading scorer Reggie Stovell (Washington, DC) to four points in the first 20 minutes.

The Amherst lead was back over 20 after they opened the second half with an 8-1 run that produced a 56-35 score. Two free throws by Stovell at the other end brought the margin down to 19 (56-37), but a three-pointer by Jeffs freshman guard Andrew Olson (San Diego, CA) made it 59-37 and it was all Amherst from there. The lead hit 32 on a three by junior John Bedford (Ridgewood, NJ) at the 12-minute mark, and it peaked at 37 points twice.

Lee led the winners with 18 points, including four three-pointers. The Jeffs finished at 51.5 percent from the floor (34/66), with Bedford hitting 5 of 8 and tallying 14 points. Schiel also scored 14 to go with a game-high nine rebounds. The Jeffs were 11 for 23 (47.8%) from three-land.

Tufts, on the other hand, shot just 29.6 percent overall (21/71) and was 3 for 19 from behind the arch. Stovell led the Jumbos with 16 points and added six rebounds. Weitzen was the only other Tufts player in double figures with his 10 points. Junior center Dan Martin (Sandwich, MA) finished with eight points and six rebounds.

The NESCAC tournament begins with first-round play next Saturday (Feb. 19).

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