2012 NESCAC Men's Basketball Championship

Saturday, Feb. 18
Saturday, Feb. 25
Sunday, Feb. 26
at No. 1 Amherst 86, No. 8 Hamilton 66
at No. 1 Amherst 97, No. 5 Bates 74
at No. 1 Amherst 71, No. 2 Middlebury 69
at No. 2 Middlebury 73, No. 7 Williams 61
No. 2 Middlebury 74, vs. No. 3 Wesleyan 52
at No. 3 Wesleyan 78, No. 6 Bowdoin 59

No. 5 Bates 57, at No. 4 Tufts 54
Championship Seeding
Championship Preview
Championship Records 

Amherst Edges Middlebury for Men's Basketball Title

Courtesy Amherst Sports Information

Box Score

AMHERST, Mass. – Taylor Barrise '12 knocked down a go-ahead three-pointer with 3.2 seconds remaining in regulation to lead the Amherst College men's basketball team to a 71-69 win over Middlebury College in the NESCAC Championship finals on Sunday afternoon.

The Lord Jeffs (25-2) will earn the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, while Middlebury (24-3) will likely receive an at-large selection. The NCAA's selection show is scheduled for Monday at noon.

Middlebury battled back from a 15-point deficit with an impressive run in the final 10 minutes. With the game tied at 68-68 and Amherst in-bounding the ball, the Jeffs elected to let the clock run down for one final shot. Point guard Aaron Toomey '14 dished the ball to Barrise on the wing, and Amherst's all-time three-point leader came through with a clutch shot that brought the score to 71-68.

With only 3.2 seconds to go, the Jeffs fouled Joey Kizel '14 on the ensuing in-bounds pass. The sophomore guard knocked down his first attempt to make it a two-point game, but after he intentionally missed the second the Panthers' put-back attempt at the buzzer fell well short.

It was fitting that the conference title came down to a classic showdown between Amherst and Middlebury, as the teams closed out the regular season with an overtime thriller that also went the Jeffs' way. Amherst bumped its win streak to 12 and has won 29 straight in LeFrak Gymnasium.

Toomey and Willy Workman '13 led Amherst with a combined 34 points and eight assists on 13-of-21 shooting. Kizel and Jake Wolfin '13 were equally impressive for Middlebury, combining for 39 points and six assists on 13-of-22.

Amherst held an 18-4 advantage in bench points and shot better than 50 percent in each half (50.9 overall), including a 6-for-12 performance from behind the arc. Middlebury struggled from long range (7-for-23) but nearly pulled off the comeback after shooting 51.9 percent in the second period.

The key in the first half was a 12-0 Amherst run that gave the hosts a 20-15 lead midway through the period. The Jeffs had only a 20-19 advantage with 7:48 to go but held Middlebury scoreless for the next 3:07, closing the half on a 16-7 run for a 36-26 cushion at the break.

The Panthers then started the second half 1-for-6 from the floor and trailed by as many as 15 when a Workman tip-in gave the Jeffs a 54-39 lead with 10:15 remaining. Middlebury began to take charge on a Kizel steal and three-point play, followed by a three-pointer by Wolfin on the next possession to suddenly bring the score to 56-49 with 7:58 on the clock.

Wolfin then capped off a 10-0 run with a pair of free throws, but Amherst's David Waller '12 finally put a stop to the bleeding with a hard drive and layup. The Panthers chipped away at their deficit with a huge offensive rebound and put-back by Ryan Sharry '12, followed by six quick Wolfin points that made it a 65-64 game in favor of the hosts with 1:20 to go.

Jeff Holmes '12 gave Amherst a big boost by muscling in a layup while getting fouled, and he knocked down the ensuing free throw to put the Jeffs back ahead by four. Middlebury tied the game at 68-68 with two Sharry free throws and a Kizel layup, setting up Barrise's heroics on Amherst's final possession.

Quarterfinals - Saturday, Feb. 18 at Higher Seeds
at No. 1 Amherst 86, No. 8 Hamilton 66
at No. 2 Middlebury 73, No. 7 Williams 61
at No. 3 Wesleyan 78, No. 6 Bowdoin 59
No. 5 Bates 57, at No. 4 Tufts 54

Semifinals - Saturday, February 25 at Amherst
at No. 1 Amherst 97, No. 5 Bates 74
No. 2 Middlebury 74, vs. No. 3 Wesleyan 52

Championship - Sunday, February 26
at No. 1 Amherst 71, No. 2 Middlebury 69


Quarterfinals - Saturday, February 18
at Higher Seeds
No. 8 at No. 1
No. 7 at No. 2
No. 6 at No. 3
No. 5 at No. 4

Semifinals - Saturday, February 25
at Highest Remaining Seed

Championship - Sunday, February 26

The top eight teams in the conference will qualify for the NESCAC Basketball Championship.  First round games will be conducted on Saturday, February 18, 2012 with the semifinals and championship games conducted on Saturday, February 25 and Sunday, February 26, respectively.  The tournament champion will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championship. 

Seeding will be based on final conference standings of round robin play.  The top four seeds will host quarterfinal games with the number one seed drawing the number 8 seed, the 7th seed will play at the 2nd seed, the 6th seed will play at the 3rd seed, and the 5th seed will play at the 4th seed. Teams will be re-bracketed with the highest remaining seed after quarterfinal action hosting both the semifinal and final rounds.

Pairings will be announced Saturday, February 11.

Tie Breaking Procedures
Ties will be broken as follows:

Head-to-head result (if teams play each other more than once during the regular season, the game that appears on the league schedule will be the game that is counted).

If teams tied during the regular season, or there is a 3-way or more tie, the following tie breaking procedure will be used:

  • Best record among tying teams, against one another (head-to-head).
  • Most conference wins (in games that are part of the conference schedule and count toward league standings).
  • Comparison of results of conference games played against top 4 teams (including all teams at the 4th spot).
  • Comparison of results of conference games played against top 8 teams (including all teams at the 8th spot).
  • Comparison of results of conference games played against conference teams in rank order.
  • Comparisons shall be made one team at a time starting with the highest ranked team.
  • If the tie remains after comparing results against the highest ranked team, the results against the next team in rank order shall be used. This process is continued until a winner is determined.
  • Coin flip (or similar random action involving all tied teams).

Note: In case of ties among three or more schools, the criteria above will be applied in order until a team is (or teams are) separated.  At that point, the process begins anew (returning to the first criteria) with the remaining teams.  The process is continued until the tie is eventually broken.  In cases where only a random action will break the tie of three or more teams, the random action will be applied to all teams involved in the tie.  For example, if three teams are tied and only a random action (pulling names out of a hat) will break the tie, each name will be pulled and seeded in order of being pulled.  Also, in the event that there are two (or more) groups of teams tied at different spots in the standings and the only criteria left that can be used to break those ties is a coin flip/random action, the coin flip/random action used to break the tie of one group (to put teams in rank order) will not affect the tie breaking procedures of the other group(s) of tied teams.