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John Bedford '06
Junior John Bedford battles Rochester's Gabe Perez on Friday night.

Second-Ranked Jeffs Bow to No. 21 Rochester 69-62 in NCAA Round of 16

March 11, 2005

AMHERST, MA - The second-ranked Amherst College men’s basketball team saw its season come to a screeching halt with a 69-62 loss to the visiting 21st-ranked University of Rochester in the NCAA Tournament Round of 16 on Friday night. Rochester advances to Saturday’s national quarterfinals, also at Amherst, where they’ll face 22nd-ranked Potsdam State at 7 p.m. with a trip to the NCAA Final Four in Salem, Va. at stake. Potsdam won Friday night’s other NCAA Round of 16 matchup, 67-43, over third-ranked and previously undefeated St. John Fisher College.

Amherst entered Friday night with a school-record 19-game winning streak and an undefeated 7-0 record at home in NCAA Tournament play, but a burly Rochester squad outmuscled the Jeffs 42-26 on the boards, including a whopping 19-9 margin on the offensive glass. To make matters worse, Amherst shot just 2-for-15 from three-point range and 8-for-14 from the line, which was an extremely difficult obstacle to overcome.

Nevertheless, the Jeffs were in the game for the duration. Rochester jumped out to a 6-0 edge on a pair of buckets from senior forward Seth Hauben (Newton, MA) and a turnaround jumper by rookie center Jon Onyiriuka (Painted Post, NY) and led by as many as eight in the opening half. Amherst managed to cut the lead to 30-28 at the break with an 8-2 spurt, keyed by junior guard John Bedford (Ridgewood, NJ) and senior co-captain Andrew Schiel (Wayne, PA), who finished the opening half with 12 and 11 points, respectively.

The two teams traded buckets to open the second, and Amherst claimed its first lead when senior guard Russell Lee (Lorton, VA) and Schiel nailed back-to-back trifectas for a 44-42 advantage, to the delight of a capacity LeFrak Gymnasium crowd. Rochester was not to be denied, however, especially on the offensive glass, where the 6' 6", 245-pound Hauben and the 6' 7", 228-pound Onyiriuka terrorized the Jeffs all night long. The Yellowjackets’ twin towers were a major factor as Rochester answered immediately with a 7-0 flurry from which Amherst would never fully recover.

The Jeffs managed to keep it interesting down the stretch, as rookie point guard Andrew Olson (San Diego, CA) made it a one-possession game (65-62) with a baseline runner with 16 second remaining. The Jeffs then sent Rochester senior point guard Gabe Perez (Corpus Christi, TX) to the line, where he calmly sank a pair of charity tosses to seal the win.

But the story of the night was Rochester’s prowess on the offensive boards, where it gained 23 second-chance points, including 14 in the second half. Hauben was a monster down low, pouring in 19 points, most from point-blank range, to go along with a game-high 14 rebounds. Onyiriuka added eight points and nine caroms. Perez also had a stellar night, finishing with nine points and five assists and nailing all five of his free-throw attempts.

Schiel paced Amherst with 20 points, while Bedford chipped in with 17.

Amherst’s season ends at 26-2. Rochester moves to 23-4 with the win.

Box Score/Play-by-Play