19th Ranked Jeffs Open Season with 91-55 Route Over N.E.C. in First Round of Ken Wright '52 Invitational

November 22, 2002 

AMHERST, MA - The 19th ranked Amherst College men's basketball team placed 14 players in the scoring column, led by respective 23- and 22-point outbursts by senior tri-captains Steve Zieja (Hadley, MA) and Pat Fitzsimons (Durham, NC), en route to a season-opening 91-55 blowout win over visiting New England College in the first round of the Second-Annual Ken Wright '52 Memorial Invitational Tournament on Friday night. 

WPI also won its first-round matchup against Johnson State (VT) College, 84-74, and will meet Amherst in the championship game Saturday at 3 p.m. 

Amherst came out of the gates a bit sluggish, trailing for the first 7:47, until first-year guard John Bedford (Ridgewood, NJ) christened his collegiate career with a go-ahead lay-up off a nifty feed from Zieja. An 11-2 Amherst run proceeded, capped by an offensive put-back by sophomore point guard Ray Corrigan (Queens, NY), and the Jeffs went on to take a 44-30 lead at the half. 

The second half brought much of the same, and Amherst led by as many as 41 points and emptied its bench down the stretch. The Jeffs forced the Pilgrims into a whopping 28 turnovers while committing only 12. Junior guard Adam Harper (Washington, DC) paced the defense with five of Amherst's 19 steals and dished out a game-high six assists. 

Fitzsimons finished a healthy 10-for-12 shooting, including a trio of dunks, and tied junior teammate Don Quinn (Princeton, NJ) with a team-high seven rebounds, four of which came off the offensive glass. Sophomore guard Russell Lee (Lorton, VA) led the reserves with eight points on 4-of-6 shooting off the bench. 

New England College sophomore forward Tim LaTorra (Windsor, Locks) tallied a double-double with 23 points and 10 rebound in defeat. 

Saturday's tournament action will include a consolation game between New England College and Johnson State. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m. 

Amherst vs. N.E.C. Box Score/Play-by-Play