Zieja, Harper Lead Ninth-Ranked Jeffs Past Worcester St., 80-62

December 10, 2002 

WORCESTER, MA - Amherst College senior tri-captain Steve Zieja (Hadley, MA) and junior sharpshooter Adam Harper (Washington, DC) each poured in 18 points on Tuesday night, as the ninth-ranked Lord Jeffs remained undefeated with an 80-62 non-league win at Worcester State College. 

Amherst's seventh straight win didn't come as easily as the final score would indicate. After scoring seven of the Jeffs' first nine points, a bloodied Zieja was forced to the bench for much of the first half after taking an elbow to the mouth. Pesky Worcester State quickly took advantage, jumping out to a 15-9 lead with a three-point play by Jason Garrett and a baseline jumper by Eric Rhynhart. 

Amherst bounced back with four unanswered buckets, including a textbook give-and-go from senior center Pat Fitzsimons (Durham, NC) to rookie John Bedford (Bridgewood, NJ). The Jeffs and Lancers traded leads over the next three minutes before one of four Fitzsimons blocks led to an easy breakaway bucket by sophomore playmaker Ray Corrigan (Queens, NY), giving the visitors a tentative 21-19 lead with 8:09 left in the first half. 

The Jeffs extended their lead with a reverse lay-in by Fitzsimons before Harper took the game over, scoring 10 points during a 12-4 Amherst run with Worcester State defenders draped all over him. Harper's floater with 2:41 left before the break put the Jeffs up by 13 points, 29-26, and the reeling Lancers would never recover. 

Zieja returned in the second half and finished with eight rebounds to go along with his 18 points. Fitzsimons chipped in with eight points, nine boards and four blocks, while Harper added six rebounds - five of which came off the offensive glass. First-year forward John Casnocha (San Francisco, CA) saw valuable time off the bench with four points, three rebounds and three steals. Junior guard John Donovan (Holmdel, NJ) was typically steady with eight points. 

Worcester state fell to 2-4 despite a team-high 18 points from Rhynhart. 

After a 24-day layoff, Amherst returns to action with a non-league tilt at Webber International University in Babson Park, Florida on Friday, January 3. 

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