Jeffs Take Ken Wright '52 Invitational Behind Tourney MVP Harper's Near Triple-Double

November 23, 2002 

AMHERST, MA - With a single-game school record 11 steals, coupled with 11 points and eight rebounds, junior guard Adam Harper (Washington, DC) fell just two caroms shy of his first career triple-double on Saturday, leading the 19th ranked Amherst College (2-0) men's basketball team to a 74-57 win over visiting WPI (1-1) in the championship game of the Second-Annual Ken Wright '52 Memorial Invitational Tournament. 

Harper was named the Tournament MVP, while senior tri-captains Pat Fitzsimons (Durham, NC) and Steve Zieja (Hadley, MA), who paced the Jeffs with 19 and 15 points, respectively, earned All-Tournament honors for the second straight year. 

As in Friday night's first-round win over New England College, Amherst started a bit sluggish on Saturday, trading leads with WPI over the first 14 minutes. Harper and reserve sophomore point guard Russell Lee (Lorton, VA) then upped the defensive intensity and used a trio of steals to spark a 13-0 Amherst run, kick-started by a Zieja three-pointer, from which the Engineers would never fully recover. 

Trailing 41-29 at the break, WPI showed signs of life with a 7-0 spurt at the start of the third quarter. First-year guard Brett Dickson (Bedford, NH) capped the flurry with a three-pointer off a feed from classmate Mike Prestileo (S. Windsor, CT), and the Engineers trailed by just five points, 41-36, with 18:17 remaining. 

Amherst head coach David Hixon '75 immediately called timeout, and Amherst responded with a game-sealing 10-0 barrage. Harper added three more steals during the run, during which the Jeffs were a perfect 4-for-4 shooting, including three-pointers by senior Ryan Faulkner (Lebanon, NH) and junior sharpshooter John Donovan (Holmdel, NJ). 

Donovan joined Zieja, Fitzsimons and Harper in double figures with 12 points. Fitzsimons' 19 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks were all game-highs. Prestileo, the Engineers lone representative on the All-Tournament Team, paced WPI with 18 points on 7-for-12 shooting. 

Earlier in the afternoon, Johnson State College (1-1) took the consolation game 77-73 over New England College (0-2). Senior forward Patrick Glover (Greenfield, MA) tallied 32 points and 15 rebounds in the victory, while sophomore forward Tim LaTorra (Winsor Locks, CT) had 11 points and six rebounds in defeat. Both were named to the All-Tournament team. 

Amherst returns to action Tuesday at 7 p.m. at non-league foe Mass. College. 

Amherst vs. WPI Box Score/Play-by-Play