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Amherst College > Athletics > Men's Basketball > Jeffs Set to Host NESCAC Final Four
   
Dan O'Shea '07
Sophomore Dan O'Shea is fifth in the NESCAC in blocks (1.12/gm) while averaging just 11.7 minutes off the bench.

Third-Ranked, Top-Seeded Jeffs Set to Host NESCAC Semifinals, Championship

February 21, 2005

AMHERST, MA - The third-ranked and top-seeded Amherst College menís basketball team will vie for its third conference championship and sixth consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament when it hosts the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Tournament semifinals and championship game on Saturday and Sunday. Ticket prices are $5 for adults and $2 for students with valid ID. Children under 10 are free.

Amherst opens semifinal play Saturday at 2 p.m. against fourth-seeded Trinity College, followed by a 4 p.m. matchup between second-seeded Tufts University and third-seeded Bates College. The winners will square off for the conference championship Sunday at noon with an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament at stake. Amherstís games will be webcast live on the Internet by campus radio station WAMH. Visit the Amherst Athletics Website for details.

The host Lord Jeffs enter the conference semifinals at 23-1 on the strength of a school-record 16-game winning streak, highlighted by an unblemished 9-0 mark in NESCAC play. Amherst prevailed 74-68 over visiting eighth-seeded Bowdoin College in Saturdayís NESCAC quarterfinals, placing all five starters in double figures. Junior John Bedford (Ridgewood, NJ) led the way with 18 points and seven rebounds, followed by classmate John Casnochaís (San Francisco, CA) 15 points and 12 boards and senior co-captain Andrew Schielís (Wayne, PA) 14 and seven. Senior sharpshooter Russell Lee (Lorton, VA) was similarly impressive with 11 points, six assists and three steals. Rookie point guard Andrew Olson (San Diego, CA) chipped in with 11 points and four assists. Together, Schiel, Lee and injured senior co-captain Ray Corrigan (Queens, NY) have led the Jeffs to a school-record 96 wins over four seasons, advancing to the NCAA round of 16 as first-years, the national quarterfinals as sophomores and the programís first-ever NCAA Final Four appearance last season.

Amherst is 11-2 all-time in NESCAC Tournament play, winning consecutive postseason championships in 2001 and 2002 before falling to archrival Williams College in both the 2003 and 2004 title games.

Trinity (19-6/6-3 NESCAC) advanced to the semifinals with a 78-64 opening-round victory over visiting No. 5 seed Wesleyan University. Junior forward Tyler Rhoten scored 16 of his game-high 20 points in the first half and was joined in double figures by sophomore Patrick Hasiuk and senior John Halas with 14 and 11 points, respectively. Rhoten leads the NESCAC at 21.8 points per game.

Tufts enters the conference semifinals at 16-9 (7-2 NESCAC) after its 99-88 quarterfinal win over visiting seventh-seeded Colby College. The Jumbos entered the final weekend of conference play with a shot at securing the top seed in the NESCAC Tournament but were blown out by Amherst, 94-61, in both teamsí regular-season finale. Senior Reggie Stovell leads the conference in rebounding (10.1 rpg) and is third in scoring (18.1 ppg).

Bates (18-7/6-3 NESCAC) tied a school-record with 18 wins and advanced to the NESCAC Final Four for the second straight season with Saturdayís dramatic 76-73 overtime victory over two-time defending conference champ Williams. Sophomore Rob Stockwell tallied a game-high 27 points and ended Williamsí season with a game-winning three-pointer as time expired in overtime. Stockwell is the conferenceís eighth leading scorer at 16.1 points per game, while sophomore Zak Ray tops the league in free throw shooting (83.1%) and senior Elliott Linsley leads the NESCAC in field goal percentage (67.4%).