NYU Men to Face #2 Amherst in NCAA Second Round
Looking to advance to the "Sweet 16" of the NCAA Division
III Championship for the first time in 18 years, the New York
University men's basketball team travels to Amherst College on
Saturday, March 3, for a 6:00 pm second-round contest.
The Violets (21-5) will face a tough test against the Lord Jeffs (25-2), who are ranked #2 in the nation by D3hoops.com, are on a 12-game winning streak and have won 29 straight games at home. Last season, Amherst reached the "Elite Eight" of the NCAA Tournament; this year, the squad captured its first New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Championship since 2005-06 to earn an automatic bid to NCAA's.
NYU advanced to the second round by defeating Freedom Conference Champion Misericordia University (21-7) 84-65 at home on Thursday. The Violets trailed by one at halftime before taking over in the second period, shooting 67.9% and outscoring the Cougars 48-28 in the half. Carl Yaffe scored 21 points to lead the way and is now just 33 shy of 1,000 for his career. NYU's leading scorer, Andy Stein (16.2 points per game), reached 1,000 earlier this season and currently ranks 10th on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,242 career points.
Yaffe and Stein are part of a balanced Violet attack that is currently second in Division III in assists per game (19.3), third in three-point field-goal percentage (41.4%) and fourth in both field-goal percentage (50.7%) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.37).
Amherst, which earned of two first-round byes in the tournament, excels on the glass and at the free-throw line. The Lord Jeffs are 16th in Division III in rebounding margin (+7.5) and 21st in free-throw percentage (74.9%). First Team All-NESCAC selection Aaron Toomey leads the team's attack, averaging 17.1 points per game and ranking sixth in the nation in free-throw percentage (90.4%).
Each team also boasts one of the deadliest shooters in the country. Amherst's Taylor Barrise ranks fourth in Division III in three-point field-goal percentage (47.7%), while NYU's Kyle Stockmal is right behind in fifth (47.3%).
The teams played two common opponents this year: the Violets' University Athletic Association (UAA) rival Brandeis University, and the Lord Jeffs' NESCAC foe Hamilton College. NYU beat Hamilton 83-46, while Amherst defeated the Continentals twice (85-68 and 86-66). Brandeis, meanwhile, handed Amherst one of its two losses of the season, 76-61. The Violets split with the Judges, losing 52-49 in the UAA opener and winning 65-63 in the regular-season finale.
Were the Violets to top the Lord Jeffs, they would advance to the "Sweet 16" for the first time since 1993-94. That year, the squad went all the way to the National Championship Game, falling 66-59 in overtime to Lebanon Valley College.
Overall, NYU is making its ninth appearance in the NCA Division III Tournament and 15th NCAA appearance in its history (the program reclassified as Division III in 1983-84). Amherst is making its 13th NCAA Tournament appearance, all of which have come since '93-94.
NYU is offering a fan bus to the game on Saturday. For all the details, click here. If you can't make it to the game, Amherst is providing live video and live stats.