|Jeffs to Host Second Straight NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Sectional|
Jeffs to Host Second Straight NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Sectional
March 5, 2006
Amherst (26-2) advanced to the Round of 16 with an 83-59 victory over visiting Hamilton College on Saturday night. Senior co-captain John Bedford (Ridgewood, NJ) paved the way, torching the Continentals for a season-high 30 points on 11-of-16 shooting, while fellow senior co-captain John Casnocha (San Francisco, CA) splashed five three-balls for 16 points and junior Dan Wheeler (Bloomington, MN) knocked down six-of-11 tries for 16 points as well. In their seventh straight and ninth overall NCAA appearance, the Jeffs boast an 8-1 home record in national tournament play.
Friday night’s matchup with Tufts will be the third time the two squads have faced off in LeFrak Gymnasium in the last five weeks. Amherst dominated the first bout, posting a 99-70 victory to secure the NESCAC regular-season crown and the right to host the conference tournament. The Jumbos gave the Jeffs all they could handle in the second meeting, firing 55.6% (35-for-63) from the field and grabbing a 39-33 rebounding advantage, but Amherst came from behind to force overtime and earn its second consecutive NESCAC Tournament Championship with the 94-86 win. Bedford was outstanding in both tilts, dropping 29 points in the first game and notching 23 points in the second.
Tufts posted a 68-65 victory over second-round host SUNY-Cortland to reach the NCAA Round of 16 for the first time in school history. Sophomore Ryan O’Keefe led the Jumbos with 21 points on the strength of four three-pointers, while junior David Shepard and sophomore Jake Weitzen added 14 points apiece. First-Team All-NESCAC pick Dan Martin leads Tufts, which has earned a school-record 23 wins on the season, averaging 17.4 points and 6.8 rebounds on the year.
Friday’s first game will also feature familiar foes as both schools hail from the Empire 8 Conference and have already met three times this season. St. John Fisher (25-3) has won all three contests, topping the Pioneers 66-58 and 82-70 during the regular season before a 74-61 victory in the conference championship. Seniors Mike McGee and Sean O’Brien head the St. John Fisher lineup as McGee averages 13 points per game, including 22 in their 71-50 second-round win over Norwich University, while O’Brien contributes 12.7 points and 6.4 assists per game. This marks the second straight year the Cardinals will travel to Amherst for the NCAA Sectionals. Last season they fell in the Round of 16 to Potsdam State University, 67-43.
Utica toppled second-round host Worcester Polytechnic Institute, 76-58, to advance to the Round of 16 after earning its first NCAA victory in school history the previous night with a 71-66 first-round win over Gordon College. The Pioneers enter the weekend at 23-6 and are led by Ray Bryant, who averages 18.2 points and 7.7 rebounds per game, including a 29-point, 14-rebound performance in their second-round win.
The other three sectionals will be hosted by Lawrence University, Virginia Wesleyan University and Wittenberg College. The winners from each sectional will move on to the national semifinals, to be played Friday and Saturday, March 17-18, at the Salem Civic Center in Salem, Va.For an updated tournament bracket and scores, visit: http://www.d3sports.com/playoffs/mbbbracket2006.pdf
For more information on the NCAA Division III Final Four visit: http://www.odaconline.com/hoopchamp/
AMHERST IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT: Ninth appearance / 13-9 all-time (8-1 home, 5-8 road)
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