Fitzsimons Tabbed NESCAC Player of the Week|
February 26, 2001
AMHERST, MA - After leading the Amherst College men's basketball team to a trio of victories, including an 86-75 win at top-seeded Trinity College in the championship game of the inaugural New England Small College Athletic Conference Postseason Tournament, sophomore forward Pat Fitzsimons (Durham, NC/Durham Academy) was named the NESCAC Player of the Week on Monday for the period ending Feb. 25.
|Pat Fitzsimons '03 has |
emerged as one of the
top Division III big-men
in the nation and is
among the conference leaders
in a variety of statistical categories
Fitzsimons torched Trinity for 22 points and 14 rebounds on Saturday en route to his team-leading eighth double-double of the season as the Jeffs earned an automatic bid and their fourth overall trip to the Division III NCAA Championship Tournament. Fitzsimons also posted 11 points and 16 rebounds in a 61-41 win over Colby College in the semifinals on Friday, and totaled 40 points and 37 rebounds overall in Amherst's three tournament wins.
"Pat has really stepped up his play in the second half of the season and continues to develop every game," said Amherst Head Coach Dave Hixon '75. "He's been exceptional on the offensive boards. Fitz gives us a legitimate, athletic big guy, which is a necessary component to go deep into the NCAA Tournament."
At 6-foot-8, Fitzsimons has emerged as one of the top Division III big-men in the nation and is among the conference leaders in a variety of statistical categories. The Durham, N.C. native is the second leading rebounder in the NESCAC at 9.6 boards per game and is third in the conference in both blocks (2.0/gm.) and field goal percentage (.594). He is also the Jeffs' third leading scorer, pouring in 9.9 points per game, and has been Amherst's leading rebounder in 14 games this season.
"I'm playing well because I've been aggressive, especially on the boards, with a lot of offensive rebounds and points on the offensive glass," said Fitzsimons, an Economics major. "I've grown more confident and think of myself as more of a dominant scorer than I used to."
Fitzsimons is the second Amherst player to win conference Player of the Week honors this season. Senior guard Brian Daoust (Dover, MA) also nabbed the award for the period ending Dec. 3, after leading the Jeffs to a pair of road wins at the Mass. College of Liberal Arts and Vassar College, and scoring a career-high 39 points in a record-setting 118-111 triple-overtime loss to visiting Clark University.
Amherst-now 21-5 overall and owner of a seven-game winning streak-hosts St. John Fisher College of Rochester, N.Y. in one of 16 first-round NCAA Tournament matchups this Thursday night at 7:30. A first-round victory would tie the Amherst record for wins in a season set by the 1993-94 Jeffs, who posted a 22-5 record and advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight for the first and only time in school history.
Amherst also appeared in the NCAA Tournament in 1996-97 and last season, when they were eliminated at Salem State in the second round after beating Western New England College, 79-77. The Jeffs have now posted eight consecutive postseason appearances, including four ECAC bids in the 1990's.