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Thursday, January 11, 2007


Jake Weitzen moves in for a lay-up at Amherst last year.

MEDFORD -- The 2007 New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) men's basketball season opens on Friday night. The marquee game on the first night of action is Amherst visiting Cousens Gymnasium to play Tufts with a 7:00 tip-off. The game will be webcast live on JumboCast.

Amherst and Tufts were New England's top two teams a year ago. They played in the NESCAC championship game and in the NCAA Tournament "Sweet 16" Round. The Lord Jeffs won both dramatic games in overtime and went on to play in the "Final Four." Tufts finished with 23 wins, the most in school history.

The Lord Jeffs have picked up where they left off last year, winning all 12 of their games to date and earning the #2 ranking in the national poll. Tufts, after losses in New Jersey to William Paterson and Stevens Institute of Technology, is 7-4 and will be looking to get back on track during the NESCAC slate.

The Jumbos have many of last year's key contributors back in their line-up. Jake Weitzen, Ryan O'Keefe, Brian Kumf, David Shepherd, Brian Fitzgerald and Jeremy Black are all team leaders again this year. Jon Pierce, a transfer from Drew University, has been a great addition to the team and leads Tufts in scoring.

Andrew Olson, whose miraculous three-pointer sent the NCAA "Sweet 16" game into overtime last March, is the floor leader for the Jeffs. Tim McLaughlin and Dan Wheeler are statistical leaders on an Amherst team that has received contributions from many players during its undefeated start.

With Tufts students off campus due to semester break, the game still promises to have an exciting atmosphere. Tufts Athletics will host it's first Youth Basketball Night during the game against Amherst. Youngsters from surrounding communities will participate in halftime contests and get a chance to meet the Jumbos after the game.