Jeffs Draw Hamilton in NESCAC Quarterfinals
Contact: Justin Long
AMHERST, Mass. – As the top seed in the NESCAC Men’s Basketball Championship, Amherst College will host eighth-seeded Hamilton College this Saturday at 4 p.m. in the tournament’s quarterfinal round.
Ticket Information: Doors to LeFrak Gymnasium will open Saturday at 12:30 p.m. Tickets will be $3 for adults and $1 for students and children. Amherst students with a valid ID will be admitted free of charge.
Live Coverage: Saturday’s game will feature a free webcast and live statistics.
Last Meeting: Amherst earned an 85-68 win over Hamilton when these teams met on Jan. 13. The Lord Jeffs led by only two points with less than two minutes to play in the opening half, but they pulled away and never left the game in doubt in the second half. Amherst led by double digits for the final 17:35, as Tom Killian ’14 capped off a 10-0 Amherst run to make it a 78-56 game with 5:59 to play. (Box Score)
How They Got Here: Hamilton got off to a blistering 8-0 start before going through a tough 3-8 stretch in the middle of the season. After winning only one of their first six NESCAC games, the Continentals made a playoff push with narrow victories over Connecticut College (63-61), Tufts (67-64) and Bates (72-62), posting a 4-1 overall record in their last five games.
While Hamilton is making its first-ever appearance in the NESCAC Championship, Amherst is beginning a quest for a fifth conference crown. The Jeffs went undefeated in league play for the first time since 2007-08, closing out the regular season with thrilling wins over Williams and Middlebury to bump their unbeaten streak to nine. Amherst is 22-7 in the tournament's history but has not won the title since 2006.
The Difference Maker: The Lord Jeffs will be facing a new Hamilton team this time around, as senior forward Pat Sullivan is back in the lineup after missing the regular-season meeting. Sullivan ranks fourth in the NESCAC in scoring (17.0 ppg) and has averaged 18.4 points in his past five games. He has played his best against the conference’s top teams, posting a double-double against Middlebury (17 points, 10 rebounds) before racking up 26 points at Williams and 23 against Tufts.
Key Statistic: Amherst has won 26 straight in LeFrak Gymnasium, while Hamilton is 2-7 in its past nine road games.
Player to Watch: Amherst’s Pete Kaasila ’13 averaged 15.0 points and 6.0 rebounds on 15-of-27 shooting (.556) during last year’s NESCAC Championship.
2012 NESCAC Men’s Basketball Championship
Quarterfinal Round - Saturday, Feb. 18
No. 8 Hamilton (15-9/4-6) @ No. 1 Amherst (22-2/10-0)
No. 7 Williams (17-7/5-5) @ No. 2 Middlebury (22-2/9-1)
No. 6 Bowdoin (17-7/5-5) @ No. 3 Wesleyan (19-5/7-3)
No. 5 Bates (11-12/5-5) @ No. 4 Tufts (16-7/6-4)
Semifinal Round - Saturday, Feb. 25
(Played at Highest Remaining Seed)
Championship Game - Sunday, Feb. 26