Andrew Olson '08
Photo by Charlie Quigg '09
Sophomore Andrew Olson earned NCAA Sectional Most Outstanding Player Honors after breaking the Amherst single-season assist record with his 168th dime tonight.

Final Four Bound! Jeffs Advance with 93-70 NCAA Sectional Victory Over St. John Fisher

March 11, 2006

AMHERST, MA – Just one night after his miraculous heroics in the NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Tournament Round of 16, sophomore point guard Andrew Olson (San Diego, CA) continued his march into Amherst College history, earning NCAA Sectional Most Outstanding Player honors and breaking the Amherst single-season school record for assists with a 11-point, 10-assist, four-steal performance in a 93-70 victory over visiting St. John Fisher College on Saturday night. The Jeffs (28-2) advance to their second Final Four in the last three seasons and will travel to the Salem Civic Center in Salem, Va. where they’ll face Wittenberg University, which topped Transylvania College in its respective sectional, 74-61, this Friday.

Olson’s 168th assist broke the school mark, previously held by Ryan Faulkner ’03 in his sophomore season. It was a night for the Amherst record books all around as the Jeffs set a single-season school record with their 28th victory, while senior co-captain John Bedford (Ridgewood, NJ) climbed to fourth on the all-time leading scorers list, notching his 1,494th career point to surpass Yram Groff '89. Junior Dan Wheeler (Bloomington, MN) matched a career-high with 24 points and fell just shy of the Amherst single-game mark for threes in a game, schwapping seven en route to NCAA All-Sectional Team plaudits.

St. John Fisher wraps up its season at 26-4. Senior All-Sectional honoree Sean O’Brien (Orchard Park, NY) tallied 10 points, five rebounds and a trio of assists, while classmates Raymie Auman (Angelica, NY) and Mike McGee (Batavia, NY) added 12 points apiece.

Bedford and fellow senior co-captain John Casnocha (San Francisco, CA) set the tone early, accounting for Amherst’s first 11 points of the game. The Jeff defense was smothering, holding the Cardinals without a bucket for over two minutes, and disallowing them to reach double-digits until the 10:48-mark. The Jeffs rained threes from the outside as five different Jeffs drilled trifectas as they stretched the advantage to 21, 35-14, with just under eight minutes left in the frame. St. John Fisher finally hit their stride, reeling a 9-0 run on the strength of five points from McGee to cut it back to 12, but this was as close as the Cardinals would get the rest of the way. Amherst ended the 3:15 scoring drought with a pair of charity tosses from Olson and cruised into the locker room with a 17-point halftime edge, 44-27.

Wheeler opened the flood gates in the second half, canning his first four three-point tries and erasing any hopes of a comeback. Amherst sophomore Matt Goldsmith (Morristown, NJ) got into the action near the 12-minute point, dropping in seven straight points and easing the Jeffs to a 24-point lead, 68-44. Despite the huge deficit, the Cardinals did everything they could to keep pace down the stretch. Auman led the effort, netting 11 of his 12 after the break, but Amherst was nearly without flaw and answered every St. John Fisher play with a strong rebuttal, keeping the capacity crowd on its feet the entire game.

The Jeffs shot a red-hot 52.7% (29-for-55) from the field as Bedford finished with 15 points, four rebounds and a trio of assists, while Goldsmith was perfect from the floor en route to 13 points and Casnocha added 11 points.

Utica senior guard Justin Cichon (New Hartford, NY) and Tufts junior forward Brian Kumf (Milford, MA) rounded out the NCAA All-Sectional Team.

BOX SCORE/PLAY-BY-PLAY


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AMHERST IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT: Ninth appearance / 15-9 all-time (10-1 home, 5-8 road)
  • 1993-94 (Qualified for the NCAA Tournament in its first year of eligibility… drew first-round bye… won at Colby in second round… beat the No. 1 team in the nation, Franklin & Marshall College, which entered the game with only one loss, in the Round of 16… Fell to eventual national champion Lebanon Valley in the national quarterfinals)
  • 1996-97 (Beat visiting Colby, 83-60, in first round… fell at Williams, 86-63, in second round)
  • 1999-00 (Beat visiting WNEC, 79-77, in first round… fell at Salem State, 81-75, in second round)
  • 2000-01 (Beat visiting St. John Fisher, 89-76, in first round… fell at Clark, 89-76, in second round)
  • 2001-02 (First-round bye… beat visiting Western Connecticut State, 82-77, in second round… fell at SUNY Brockport, 69-64, in Round of 16)
  • 2002-03 (First-round bye… beat visiting Southern Vermont, 84-60, in second round… beat Rochester, 74-68, in Round of 16… fell at Sectional host Williams, 91-75, in National Quarterfinals)
  • 2003-04 (First-round bye… beat visiting Plymouth State, 113-85, in second round… beat New Jersey City, 92-74, in Round of 16… beat Sectional host Franklin & Marshall, 82-70, in National Quarterfinals… fell to Williams, 86-81, in National Semifinals… fell to John Carroll, 96-85, in Championship consolation)
  • 2004-05 (First-round bye… beat Springfield, 81-68, in second round… fell to Rochester, 69-62, in Round of 16)
  • 2005-06 (First-round bye… beat Hamilton, 83-59, in second round… beat Tufts, 90-85 (OT), in Round of 16… beat St. John Fisher, 93-70, in National Quarterfinals... will face Wittenberg in National Semifinals…)