Zieja Tabbed NESCAC Player of the Week|
March 5, 2001
AMHERST, MA - Amherst College sophomore Steve Zieja (Hadley, MA) was named the NESCAC Men's Basketball Player of the Week on Monday after averaging 17.5 points and 8.5 rebounds in two postseason games as the Jeffs advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division III Tournament for the second consecutive season.
|Steve Zieja '03 averaged 17.5 |
points and 8.5 rebounds in the
Jeff's two NCAA Tournament games
Zieja led three Amherst players in double figures in Saturday's second-round loss at regional-rival Clark University with game-highs of 23 points and nine rebounds. He scored 18 points in the first half and repeatedly gave the Jeffs the upper hand during the opening 10 minutes, striking first with a three-point play to give Amherst an 8-7 advantage 3:48 into the game as the two teams traded leads nine times in the early going. Zieja then connected on a fast-break lay-in for a 12-11 Amherst lead at 13:41 and hit another transition bucket to put the Jeffs up 18-17 at the 11:20 mark. Down 42-36 with 1:12 remaining in the first half, Zieja cut the Amherst deficit to four points with a pair of free throws. The Jeffs eventually lost the game 89-76, ending their season and quest for a first-ever National Championship with a 22-6 record.
"He's an incredibly steady performer for a sophomore, more often than not our leader in rebounds and points," said Amherst Head Coach Dave Hixon '75. "I just can't imagine what he's going to accomplish over the next two seasons."
Zieja also had a strong outing in the Jeffs' 89-76 NCAA first-round win over St. John Fisher College last Thursday, with 12 points and a team-high eight rebounds. The 6'4" forward was a Second-Team All-NESCAC selection after falling just two points shy of becoming only the fifth Amherst player to score 500 points in a season. Zieja led the Jeffs and finished fifth in the conference in scoring at 17.8 points per game and was Amherst's second leading rebounder with 8.6 boards per game, the fourth highest total in the NESCAC.
Zieja is the third Amherst player to win conference Player of the Week honors this season. Senior guard Brian Daoust (Dover, MA) nabbed the award for the period ending Dec. 3, after scoring a career-high 39 points in a 118-111 triple-overtime regular-season loss to visiting Clark in the Jeffs' home opener. Sophomore center Pat Fitzsimons (Durham, NC) was also named the conference Player of the Week on Feb. 26, after torching Trinity College for 22 points and 14 rebounds in the inaugural NESCAC Championship game.
The Jeffs finished their season with a single-season school record 22 wins, including a first-ever three-game sweep over archrival Williams College. Amherst also won its second straight outright Little III title and posted consecutive road wins at Bowdoin and Colby in the final week of the regular season to finish in a five-way tie for first place. As the fourth seed, the Jeffs went on to sweep the first-ever NESCAC Championship Tournament with postseason wins over Williams, Colby and Trinity Colleges. Amherst was also the only team in the NESCAC with First and Second-Team All-Conference selections in Daoust and Zieja, while Hixon was a near-unanimous choice for conference Coach of the Year honors.