|Amherst to Host Third-Straight NCAA Sectional|
Amherst to Host Third-Straight NCAA Sectional
By Mike Wohl '07
March 5, 2007
AMHERST, MA – Amherst College has been named one of four host institutions for the 2007 NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Sectional for the third straight year. Stevens Institute of Technology, Rhode Island College and Keene State College are the three teams joining Amherst in the Round of 16 this coming weekend.
RIC will play Little East Conference rival Keene State College Friday night at 6 p.m., with Amherst and Stevens playing the night cap at 8 p.m. The two winners will square off Saturday at 7 p.m. with a trip to the Final Four at stake. This marks the sixth straight season that the Lord Jeffs have reached the Round of 16.
Amherst (26-2) received a first-round bye and defeated Widener University, 87-70, on Saturday in LeFrak gymnasium. Junior center Kevin Hopkins (Greenfield Center, NY) led Amherst with a career-high 24 points on 10-of-12 shooting in just 22 minutes. Senior quad-captain Dan Wheeler (Bloomington, MN) added 18 points on 7-of-15 shooting and led Amherst with seven rebounds, while junior point guard Andrew Olson (San Diego, CA) dished out 12 assists without turning the ball over. Olson’s 12 assists gives him 504 in his career, surpassing Ryan Faulkner ’03 (498) and vaulting him to the top spot on the all-time Amherst assist leader board.
The 8 p.m. Friday match-up between Stevens and Amherst will be the first meeting between the two programs. Stevens (23-6) comes out of the Skyline Conference where they fell to SUNY-Old Westbury, 80-83, in the semifinals. A bubble team on selection Sunday, Stevens was pleasantly surprised when they found out that they had earned a Pool C at-large bid. This weekend, Stevens traveled to Worcester Polytech Institution where they defeated host WPI, 68-57, and Ramapo College, 69-61, on consecutive days.
Stevens is led by junior guard Waleed Farid, who averaged 20.5 points, 9.0 rebounds and 4.5 steals per game in the Ducks’ two NCAA tournament wins, including a 27-point, 14-rebound and five-steal effort Saturday vs. Ramapo in the Round of 32. Farid is the second leading scorer for Stevens, averaging 18.0 points per game. Sophomore guard Virgil Gray II leads the Ducks on the season, dumping in a whopping 19.7 points per contest.
Friday’s 6 p.m. game features two Little East Conference opponents who will be facing each other for the fourth time this season. The Keene State College Owls (25-5) defeated Rhode Island College in the two regular season meetings, 82-78 and 92-81. The Owls are led by a pair of dangerous sophomores, Tyler Kathan and Nate Anderson. Kathan averages 16.3 points and 8.2 rebounds per game, while Anderson averages 12.3 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. Keene rolled over Rivier College, 81-47, in the first round, and then defeated host Salem State, 76-75, to reach the Round of 16.
The RIC Anchormen (26-3) avenged the two regular season losses and beat the Owls, 87-75, in the LEC Championship game. RIC is led by senior Kinsey Durgin and sophomore Tirrell Hill, who average 13.9 and 11.3 points per game, respectively. Durgin also leads RIC in assists (84) and is second in rebounds (147). The Anchormen defeated Coast Guard, 64-60, and Brandeis University, 70-67, on back-to-back evenings at home to land themselves in the Round of 16. RIC’s only other loss this season was a 48-62 home defeat at the hands of Amherst College Jan. 30.
The other three sectionals will be hosted by Wisconsin Stevens-Point, Virginia Wesleyan University and St. John Fisher College. The winners from each sectional will move on to the national semifinals, to be played Friday and Saturday, March 16-17, at the Salem Civic Center in Salem, Virginia.
Tickets for this weekend’s games can be purchased at the door, which opens at 4 p.m. Adults will be charged $7 per ticket, students with a valid ID will be charged $4, and children under 2 will be admitted free of charge.
The first of Friday's games will be broadcast live by the Keene State radio station, while the second game will be broadcast live by the Amherst radio station, WAMH.
Click here for a full tournament bracket.
AMHERST IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT: Tenth appearance / 16-11 all-time (10-1 home, 6-10 road/neutral)
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