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Amherst Earns Bye in NCAA Tournament
Amherst will be making a 14th appearance in the big dance.
Contact: Justin Long
AMHERST, Mass. – The Amherst College men’s basketball team has earned a first-round bye in the NCAA Division III Championship, as the Lord Jeffs will begin their quest for a second national title on Saturday, Mar. 3 in LeFrak Gymnasium.
Amherst will host the winner of Friday’s opening-round matchup between NYU and Misericordia University. Saturday's game will begin at 6 p.m. A Complete bracket is available here.
Ticket Information: Tickets for Saturday's game will cost $6 for adults and $3 for students and senior citizens. Children under 2 will be admitted free of charge, as will Amherst College students with a current valid ID. Tickets will go on sale when doors to LeFrak Gymnasium open Saturday at 4:30 p.m.
Amherst Tournament History: Amherst has posted a 27-14 record in 13 trips to the NCAA Tournament, notably making 10 consecutive appearances from 2000-09. The Lord Jeffs have advanced to at least the quarterfinal round seven times, moving on to the Final Four on four occasions and winning the program’s first-ever national championship in 2007.
Scouting NYU: The Violets (20-5) are making their first tournament appearance since 1998 and their ninth overall as an at-large selection from the University Athletic Association. NYU won its first nine games of the season en route to a 14-1 start, but the Violets stumbled to a 2-3 finish. Their regular season ended on a high note, though, edging out a 65-63 win over Brandeis, a team that handed Amherst one of its two losses.
NYU finished its UAA schedule with a 9-5 record, having gone 11-0 against teams outside of its conference. In their only clash with the NESCAC, the Violets cruised to an 83-46 win over Hamilton early in the year. Leading the charge is Andy Stein ’12, a 6’8 center who paces the team in scoring (16.3 ppg) and adds 6.6 rebounds per game while shooting 56.3 percent overall and 71.4 percent at the line.
Carl Yaffe ’13 is a 6’8 forward who has been a threat from outside (.414), as he provides NYU with 14.3 points, 6.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game. Rounding out an exceptional trio is Kyle Stockmail ’13, a 6’3 guard who leads the team in steals while averaging 14.7 points and 3.7 assists per contest. Stockmail is the team’s biggest threat from behind the arc, as he puts up nearly six three-pointers per game and connects on 48.6 percent of his attempts.
Scouting Misericordia: The Cougars (21-6) are making their first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament as champions of the Freedom Conference. Misericordia trailed Wilkes University by three points at halftime in the conference tournament finals but outscored the Colonels 45-15 the rest of the way.
The Cougars went through a tough 4-6 stretch in the middle of the season but will carry a 12-game winning streak into the weekend. Junior forward Steve Artzerounian (6’5) helped his team continue its postseason run by recording 18 points and 11 rebounds in the title game en route to MVP honors, as he is averaging 14.9 points and 6.6 rebounds per outing. Ethan Eichhorst ’12 has been even more impressive, as the 6’4 forward is scoring 17.8 points and pulling down 7.3 rebounds per night with a .889 shooting percentage at the line.
Matt Greene ’14 and 1,000-point scorer Jeff Slanovec ’12 form a solid one-two punch at the guard position as the team’s two biggest three-point threats. Greene contributes 9.1 points per game and Slanovec adds 9.2, with Greene dishing out an average of 3.8 assists while shooting 43.4 percent from behind the arc. The Cougars feature 10 players who average at least 10.0 minutes per game, eight of whom contribute at least 4.5 points.
Scouting Amherst: The winner of Friday’s game in New York City will then have to make the trip to LeFrak Gymnasium, where Amherst (25-2) hasn’t lost in more than two years (29-0). The Lord Jeffs are riding an overall win streak of 12 games—a dominant stretch that earned them a first-round bye for the ninth time in program history.
Willy Workman '13 averages 11.7 points and leads Amherst in rebounds, steals and blocks.
Amherst’s four losses last year came at the hands of Middlebury and Williams, but the Jeffs are 4-0 against the Panthers and Ephs this season. Having gotten over those two humps, Amherst is looking to make another run at a national title after bowing out in the quarterfinal round a year ago.
With the NESCAC possibly as competitive as it has ever been, Amherst’s 10-0 conference record and tournament championship are even more impressive. Each of the Jeffs’ five wins over Middlebury, Williams and Wesleyan was decided by two, with the winning points coming in the final five seconds in four of those games.
Providing the heroics in Amherst’s most recent thriller—a 71-69 win over Middlebury in the NESCAC finals—was senior captain Taylor Barrise. Already the school’s all-time leader in three-pointers (221), Barrise is only 29 points away from becoming the 25th player in program history to score 1,000 in a career. His hand has been particularly hot as of late, having gone 27-for-46 (.587) from behind the arc and 12-for-12 at the line in his past nine games (11.9 ppg).
Setting up Barrise’s winning shot was sophomore point guard Aaron Toomey, who accounted for the winning points in both of Amherst’s wins over Williams. Toomey has been automatic at the line throughout the season (.904), but in the NESCAC tournament he shot 60.6 percent overall and was 8-for-16 from long range while averaging 21.7 points and 6.0 assists.
Willy Workman ’13, meanwhile, continues to quietly do a bit of everything for Amherst. In addition to averaging 11.7 points and 3.0 assists per game, he leads the Jeffs in rebounding (6.4), steals (1.8) and blocks (1.1). Workman has been shooting much better as of late, hitting at a .536 clip during the conference tournament and going 3-for-6 from behind the arc.
Amherst’s bench players outscored those of Hamilton, Bates and Middlebury by a combined 75-31 margin in the tournament, as Jeff Holmes ’12, Allen Williamson ’13 and David Kalema ’14 continue to provide productive minutes in key moments. Holmes has been particularly impressive in crunch time, notably coming through with a pivotal three-point play in the waning moments of the NESCAC finals.
2012 NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Championship
First Round - Thursday, Mar. 1
NYU def. Misericordia, 84-65
Second Round - Saturday, Mar. 3
NYU (21-5) @ Amherst (25-2) --- 6 p.m.
* * * NCAA TOURNAMENT BRACKET * * *
NYU Team Website * Misericordia Team Website