No. 8 Jeffs Fall at 7th-Ranked Williams Despite Harper's 25 Points

January 11, 2003 

WILLIAMSTOWN, MA - The Eighth-ranked but undermanned Amherst men's basketball team - playing without senior center Pat Fitzsimons (Durham, NC) and junior forward Frank Perry (Hartford, CT), both out with injuries - fell at seventh-ranked NESCAC and Little Three rival Williams College 74-65 on Saturday night despite a game-high 25 points by junior guard Adam Harper (Washington, DC). Williams remains undefeated at 11-0 with the non-conference win, while Amherst falls to 9-2 overall after an 8-0 start. 

The Jeffs trailed by as many as 15 in the second half but clawed back to cut the deficit to just two points with 3:34 remaining. Sophomore guard Russell Lee (Lorton, VA) helped key the comeback when he stripped Williams forward Drew DeMuth (Carlisle, PA) and threaded a long outlet pass to Harper, who drilled a floater and was hacked in the act. The three-point play brought the Jeffs within striking distance, 65-63, but Amherst managed just two more points in the game and went scoreless over the last 2:26. 

Nevertheless, Amherst had two solid chances to tie the game down the stretch but Lee rimmed out a runner and came up short on a 3-point attempt. Williams ended the game on a 7-0 run, capped by a pair of DeMuth free throws with three seconds on the clock. 

Amherst, which entered the game shooting 68.4% from the charity stripe, drilled all 11 of its free throw attempts but lost the battle of the boards 38-24 and shot just 4-for-20 from beyond arc. Sophomore forward Andrew Schiel (Wayne, PA) was Amherst's lone perimeter threat with a trio of trifectas and 17 points off the bench. Senior forward Steve Zieja (Hadley, MA) added 16 points on 8-for-11shooting but picked up two early fouls, which hampered his playing time in the first half. Harper's 25 points tied a career-high set in last year's NCAA Tournament. 

Williams placed four players in double figures. Junior guard Michael Crotty (Belmont, MA) led the way with 18 points on the strength of three 3-pointers. DeMuth added 17 points on 7-for-11 shooting, while Benjamin Coffin (Westford, MA) chipped in with 16 points and a game-high 13 boards. 

Despite the loss Amherst has won eight of its last 11 meetings with Williams, including a pair of victories in three matchups last season. Williams head coach Dave Paulsen is now 2-5 against the Jeffs. 

Amherst returns to action Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. for a non-conference matchup at Little Three rival Wesleyan University. 

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