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Andrew Schiel '05
Honorable Mention All-America Andrew Schiel '05 finished second in the NESCAC in blocked shots (2.10 bpg) and 12th in scoring (13.5 ppg) as a junior.

Coming off Best Season in School History, 11th-Ranked Jeffs Boast Talented Veterans, Newcomers

October 30, 2004

2003-04 RECAP
Despite graduating three of the best players to ever don the purple and white - career assists leader Ryan Faulkner, career blocked shots and rebounding leader Pat Fitzsimons and the college’s all-time leading scorer, Steve Zieja - the 2003-04 Amherst men’s basketball team turned in the best season in school history, shattering single-season school records for wins (27) and winning percentage (84.4%), tying school records for scoring average (87.1 ppg) and longest winning streak (15 games) and advancing to their first-ever NCAA Division III Final Four. The year began with a bang as the Jeffs jumped out to a 15-0 start and ascended to the top spot in the national rankings for the first time ever, thanks in part to a one-sided 78-62 victory over defending national champion Williams that shattered the Ephs’ 28-game winning streak and gave Amherst its 10th victory in the last 14 meetings against its archrival. A fourth straight trip to the NESCAC Tournament title game and an at-large bid to their fifth straight (and seventh overall) NCAA Tournament ensued, and the Jeffs seized the opportunity, downing Plymouth State, New Jersey City University and sectional host Franklin & Marshall en route to a historic run to the NCAA Final Four in Salem, Virginia. A season-ending 86-81 loss in the national semifinals notwithstanding, Amherst had much to be proud of, leading the nation in scoring margin (20.8 ppg) and finishing sixth in scoring offense (87.1 ppg), 10th in won-lost percentage (84.4%), 11th in three-point field goals per game (9.5) and 20th in field goal percentage (48.9%).

KEY LOSSES
The Jeffs will have to overcome the loss of tri-captains Adam Harper, John Donovan and Tim Jones, who graduated as the winningest class in school history with 95 victories in four seasons, advancing to the NCAA second round as freshmen, the round of 16 as sophomores, the national quarterfinals as juniors and the college’s first-ever trip to the NCAA Final Four as seniors. Harper, a two-time NESCAC Defensive Player of the Year and a First-Team All-Northeast Region selection, shattered a single-season school record with a conference-best 105 steals, becoming the college’s all-time leader with 321 career thefts. Donovan is Amherst’s 13th all-time leading scorer with 1,084 career points and the college’s third all-time three-point shooter with 186 career trifectas. Jones led the NESCAC in field goal percentage (64.3%) and finished fourth in blocked shots (1.47 bpg) as a senior.
Ray Corrigan '05
Senior point guard Ray Corrigan will once again run the offense after dishing out 4.4 assists per game as a junior.


RETURNEES/NEWCOMERS
Ranked 11th in the preseason, Amherst returns Honorable Mention All-America Andrew Schiel, a 6-7 senior forward who finished second in the NESCAC in blocked shots (2.10 bpg), 12th in scoring (13.5 ppg) and 13th in three-point field goal percentage (38.6%) as a junior. Junior guard John Bedford also returns, coming off a breakout season in which he finished third in the NESCAC in three-point field goal percentage (44.8%), tied for fourth in field goal percentage (53.0%), finished fifth in free throw percentage (81.9%) and tied for 19th in scoring (12.0 ppg). Senior point guard Ray Corrigan will once again run the offense after dishing out 4.4 assists per game as a junior, while classmate Russell Lee, a left-handed sharpshooter, emerged as a go-to guy on offense during last year’s postseason run. Look for junior forward John Casnocha to also be a force on offense after averaging 7.4 points and 4.1 rebounds before missing the second half of last season due to injury. Other solid contributors looking to emerge include sophomores Dan Wheeler, Dan O’Shea, Tim McLaughlin, Jason Tucker, Mike Salerno and Dan Fisher and junior Keith Zalaski, while incoming first-years Andrew Olson, Matt Goldsmith, Brandon Jones, Fletcher Walters, Kevin Hopkins and Blake Murphey highlight a strong recruiting class. Head coach Dave Hixon - the 2003-04 New England Basketball Coaches Association (NEBCA) Division III Coach of the Year and National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Northeast Region Coach of the Year - enters his 28th season with 466 victories to his credit.

SCHEDULE HIGHLIGHTS
In addition to an always challenging nine-game NESCAC slate, Amherst will play in a pair of tournaments in 2004-05, hosting the season-opening Ken Wright ’52 Memorial Invitational and traveling to Westfield State for the Fourth-Annual Pioneer Valley Classic. As usual, the Jeffs will face a slew of tough non-conference foes, highlighted by a November 30th matchup against visiting two-time national finalist and five-time national quarterfinalist Clark University, and a January 3rd tilt at The College of New Jersey, ranked 18th in the preseason and the early favorite to win the New Jersey Athletic Conference. The fifth installment of the NESCAC Postseason Championship Tournament tips off on Saturday, February 19th, with an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament at stake.