Dan Wheeler '07
Junior Dan Wheeler earned tournament MVP honors for his 17 point, eight rebound performance.

Fifth-Ranked Jeffs Topple Endicott 68-57 In Ken Wright '52 Memorial Invitational Tournament

November 19, 2005

AMHERST, MA – The fifth-ranked Amherst College men’s basketball team overcame a 25-22 halftime deficit to topple visiting Endicott College 68-57 and claim the Ken Wright ’52 Memorial Invitational Championship for the fifth straight season on Saturday. Junior Dan Wheeler (Bloomington, MN) paced the Jeffs with 17 points and eight rebounds and earned tournament MVP honors as Amherst improved to 2-0. Fitchburg State College upended Fisher College in the tournament consolation game, 75-66.

The Jeffs got off to a sluggish start, netting only three of their first 15 field goal attempts. Meanwhile, Endicott capitalized and built a 21-9 lead on the strength of eight early points from junior forward Nemanja Marinkovic (Belgrade, Serbia). Amherst finally awoke as senior John Casnocha (San Francisco, CA) drilled a three to end a 3:20 scoring drought and spark a 13-2 run to pull the Jeffs back within one, 23-22. A pair of free throws from Endicott sophomore Todd Burton (Lynn, MA) gave the Gulls a 25-22 edge at the break.

Amherst came out firing in the second half as senior John Bedford (Ridgewood, NJ) scored five straight points to give the Jeffs their first lead of the game. Endicott answered, regaining the lead on a layup and a pair of free throws from Burton, but it was then that Wheeler would start taking over. Wheeler drilled two straight threes to give the Amherst a 35-33 edge at the 15:45-mark and the Jeffs would never trail again. The lead would stretch to as many as 17 points as Amherst controlled the tempo down the stretch.

Sophomore point guard Andrew Olson (San Diego, CA) joined Wheeler in double figures with 13 points, while junior Tim McLaughlin (Chatham, NJ) nabbed all-tournament honors with a 10-point performance. Sophomore Matt Goldsmith (Morristown, NJ) led the Jeffs on the glass with nine rebounds.

Marinkovic and senior Zach Ellis (Westford, MA) claimed all-tournament honors for the Gulls as Marinkovic posted 11 points and nine rebounds, while Ellis added a team-high 16 points and three assists. Burton also reached double-figures, notching 12 points.

Fitchburg St. shot 52.2% from the floor in the second half to outlast Fisher in the day’s first game. Senior guard Dan Koen (Auburn, MA) led the way, netting 18 points, including an eight-for-eight showing from the charity stripe, and junior all-tournament honoree Nick Smith (Fitchburg, MA) tallied 15 points and eight boards. Fellow junior Albert Ortiz (Fitchburg, MA) added 12 points and nine rebounds as well. Junior Michael Newcombe (Staten Island, NY) had an outstanding game in a losing effort for Fisher, dropping 28 points, eight rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals. Rookie Stephen Rice (Roxbury, MA) claimed all-tournament honors for Fisher, scoring 15 points and grabbing five boards.

Amherst returns to action Friday, December 2, in the opening round of the Pioneer Valley Classic at Western New England as they face Springfield College at 6 p.m.