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Trinity Men's Basketball Begins NESCAC Title Defense At Amherst Saturday

Trinity Men's Basketball Begins NESCAC Title Defense At Amherst Saturday

MacDougall Takes League Player of The Week Honors For Bantams

 Hartford, Conn., Feb. 19, 2009 - The Trinity College men's basketball team, which posted a regular season record of 9-14 and finished in a tie with Bates for sixth place in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) at 4-5, will travel to Amherst to take on the Lord Jeffs in the quarterfinal round of the NESCAC Championship Tournament on Sat., Feb. 21 at 2 p.m.  Trinity defeated Connecticut College at home and won against Middlebury and Bowdoin at Amherst to capture its first NESCAC Championship crown last season.  Tickets for the game are $3 for adults and $1 for students and will be sold at the doors to LeFrak Gymnasium, which will open at 12:30 p.m.  The game will also we webcast live at https://www.amherst.edu/athletics/jeffcast.

The Bantams, coached by Sean Tabb (1st Season), started the season slowly at 2-6 but have won two of their last three games.  Trinity sandwiched a double-overtime defeat to top-seeded Middlebury, 78-76, on Friday between an 86-75 win at Clark last Monday and an 83-73 win against Williams in the regular-season finale at home on Saturday.  Amherst is 3-0 against Trinity in the league tournament.  In 2005, Amherst squeaked by Trinity in the semifinal game, 75-72 and, in the 2004 semifinals, the Lord Jeffs handed the Bantams an 87-78 loss.  Amherst topped Trinity in the 2002 Championship game, 85-78.  Earlier this year, Amherst handed the Bantams a 65-48 loss in Hartford.

The winner of the NESCAC Championship Tournament will determine the league's automatic qualifier for the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament.  Top-seeded Middlebury (21-3, 8-1) plays No. 8-seeded Connecticut College (13-11, 2-7) and will host the semifinals and finals on Feb. 28 Mar. 1 with a win in its quarterfinal game with a win in that game.  No. 3-seeded Williams (16-8, 6-3) hosts No. 6-seeded Bates (13-11, 4-5) and No. 4-seeded Colby (17-7, 6-3) hosts No. 5-seeded Bowdoin (16-8, 5-4) in the other first round games this Saturday.  If Middlebury loses, the highest remaining seed will host the semifinals and finals. 

Trinity boasts a balanced offensive attack with three players averaging in double figures in scoring.  Sophomore Brian Ford (Bronx, N.Y.) leads the Bantams in scoring at 11.7 ppg (18th in NESCAC), sinking 37 three-pointers on the season.  Senior co-captain Paul Rowe (Brooklyn, N.Y.) is second on the team in scoring at 11.5 ppg (19th in NESCAC) and adds four rebounds and 1.32 steals (29, 9th in NESCAC) per game, while sophomore sharp-shooter Luke MacDougall (Baldwinsville, N.Y.) is averaging 10.1 points a game, shooting .426 from behind the arch and .843 from the charity stripe (4th in NESCAC), and 5.7 rebounds per game (10th in NESCAC).  Senior co-captain Aaron Westbrooks (Dublin, Ireland), the 2008 NESCAC Defensive Player of the Year, averages 8.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, two assists per game.   Sophomore guard Salah Abdo (Chelsea, Mass.) is the team leader in steals with 1.78 per game (41, 2nd in NESCAC) and adds 7.2 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 3.13 (72, 8th in NESCAC) assists per contest in his first season as a Bantam.  Sophomore guard Ian Fels (Miami, Fla.) finished the regular season with averages of 9.3 points and 2.6 rebounds to go along with 46 assists. 

MacDougall averaged 21.7 points and 7.7 rebounds per game last week, leading Trinity in scoring with 20 points and six boards at Clark and following with a game- and career-high 30 points along with six rebounds in the Middlebury game. MacDougall closed the week with 15 points, nine rebounds and three assists in the  win over Williams.  For the week, MacDougall shot .629 from the fi eld (22-for-35), .583 from three-point range (7-for-12) and .737 from the foul line (14-for-19).

The Amherst College Lord Jeffs, coached by David Hixon (32nd season), have won four NESCAC titles and captured the NCAA Division III National cornw in 2007.  Senior Brian Baskauskas (Palo Alto, Calif.) is scoring 16.5 points a game this season to lead the team, hitting 52 percent of his shots while adding 6.3 rebounds per game, 18 blocks, 29 steals, and 46 assists.  Junior Steven Wheeler (Bloomington, Minn.) is averaging 12.5 points a game, hitting 41 percent of his three-point attempts, and 86 percent of his free throws. Sophomore guard Conor Meehan (Meriden, Conn.) holds averages of 10 points and 4.3 rebounds a game to go along with 99 assists and 37 steals on the year.  Senior forward Mike Holsey (Potomac, Md.) has been a defensive force, racking up 42 blocks, 21 steals and an average of 4.4 rebounds per game for the Lord Jeffs. 

Click here for NESCAC Player of the Week information

Click here for NESCAC Tournament information