Andrew Olson '08
Junior Andrew Olson picked up 10 points and eight assists

Top-Seeded Jeffs Advance to NESCAC Final
to Face Archrival Williams

By Justin Long

February 24, 2007

Third-Seeded Williams Advances to Final after 91-89 Thriller Over Trinity

AMHERST, MA – The top-seeded Amherst College men’s basketball team defeated fifth-seeded Colby College 82-55 to advance to its seventh NESCAC Championship game in as many years. In the second semifinal game, third-seeded Williams College upset second-seeded Trinity College 91-89 to advance to its first championship game since 2004. This will be the third time the Lord Jeffs and Ephs pair up in the finals.

Amherst senior quad-captain Dan Wheeler (Bloomington, MN) kicked the first game off with a three-pointer to give the Jeffs an early lead, and would add three more in the next ten minutes, giving himself 12 points on 4-for-4 shooting and his team a 26-20 lead with 9:17 remaining in the first half. The White Mules were just as impressive from beyond the arc, knocking down four early three-pointers and converting a layup into a three-point play to match Amherst’s early hot shooting.

The Lord Jeffs scored 11 unanswered points as part of an 18-2 run, holding Colby scoreless for nearly three minutes to hold a 41-22 lead with just over five minutes remaining in the opening half. Amherst junior Fletcher Walters (Ann Arbor, MI) did his best impression of Wheeler in the final five minutes of the frame, knocking down four three-pointers to give the Jeffs their largest lead of 21 points before heading into the locker room with a 50-30 advantage.

Colby senior co-captain Nick Farrell (Aspen, CO) did all he could to keep his team in the game, knocking down threes on consecutive possessions to bring the score to 59-41 after six minutes of second-half action, but Amherst did not let up as Walters’ fifth jumper from downtown gave the Jeffs a 75-52 lead with eight minutes remaining in the game.

Junior Kevin Hopkins (Greenfield Center, NY) put an exclamation point on the game with his second authoritative dunk of the afternoon, bringing the home crowd to its feet as the Jeffs took a 78-53 lead with 4:25 on the clock. Amherst stretched its lead to as many as 27 points, finishing with an 82-55 victory to advance to the NESCAC Championship game.

Wheeler led all scorers with 18 points, while Walters added 17, Hopkins chipped in with 12, and sophomore Brian Baskauskas (Palo Alto, CA) totaled 14. Farrell finished with 17 points for the White Mules, senior co-captain Drew Cohen added 12 and sophomore Mac Simpson (Casco, ME) scored 10 to round out the scorers in double figures.

Sunday's championship game will begin at noon in LeFrak Gymnasium.