LEWISTON, ME—In an exciting and up-and-down game, the Williams College Ephs (17-7, 5-5) finished the 2017 regular season with a tight, 65-62 win over the Bates College Bobcats (15-9, 4-6).
Bates was able to jump out to an early lead thanks to a pair of three-pointers by Jerome Darling and strong post play by the Bobcats' big men (and twin brothers) Marcus and Malcolm Delpeche. Williams was plagued by turnovers early in the game, giving up the ball six times in the first eight minutes, four of which came on Bates steals. While the Bobcats were not hyper-accurate from the field, their ball control allowed them to build up a 21-12 lead over the Ephs with nine minutes to play in the half.
It was around this point that Williams seemed to loosen up, and the Ephs were able to string together a 14-2 run over the next four minutes. A free throw and three-pointer by Dan Aronowitz followed by a post bucket by Michael Kempton cut the lead to three, and after Marcus Delpeche scored for Bates on a nice cut to the basket, Matt Karpowicz answered with a post bucket for Williams. The following Bates possession saw Dan Aronowitz come up with a steal and then knock home his second three-pointer of the game to equalize the score at 23. A transition three by Bobby Casey then gave Williams their first lead of the game with five minutes to play in the half.
Bates heavily targeted the Delpeche twins on the block for the rest of the half; the big men scored the Bobcats' next seven points, although combined they left five points from the stripe unclaimed. Dan Aronowitz, meanwhile, continued to lead the way for Williams, preserving the Eph lead with two drives to the bucket and a pair of free throws. The score sat at 36-32 as the teams went into the half.
"Bates came out with a lot of energy," Williams head coach Kevin App said after the game, "and we gave them some easy baskets early on, which they thrive on at home. But I was really proud of our guys for weathering that storm and from that point on out I thought we competed hard on both ends of the court."
Marcus Delpeche, in addition to joining Bates's 1000-point club with a sky hook over Michael Kempton, nearly double-doubled in the first half, putting up 11 points and nine rebounds, while Dan Aronowitz was the standout player of the half, shooting a perfect 6-6 from the field and 3-4 from the line to register 17 points.
Williams came out on fire from long range, riding that wave to a double-digit lead early in the half. Cole Teal bounced back from an 0-5 first half with two long balls within a minute of each other punctuated by a layup by Mike Greenman. Jeff Spellman answered with a three of his own, but two more from long range by Dan Aronowitz and James Heskett, the team's fourth and fifth in six attempts, extended the Williams lead even further to 52-39 with five minutes gone in the second half.
As Williams slowed down a bit offensively, Malcolm Delpeche singlehandedly cut the lead to seven with six straight points, but yet another trey by Cole Teal reasserted the double-digit lead for Williams with 13:07 remaining.
The margin stalled around ten for the next several minutes, as both teams struggled to score. Williams especially went cold, scoring only four points over the next 11 minutes, allowing Bates to slowly chip away at the Eph lead. A pair of mid-range jumpers by Quin Leary cut the margin to six, and Marcus Delpeche electrified the Bates crowd with a steal and two-handed dunk to make the score 59-55 with 3:44 to play.
Jerome Darling cut the lead to just one point with a three-pointer out of a Bates timeout, but Bobby Casey snapped a seven-minute scoreless streak for Williams with a huge trey in response. Jeff Spellman got a wild layup to fall, but Cole Teal nailed a three-pointer from about five feet behind the arc to give Williams a 65-60 lead.
Spellman got another layup to fall in the final ten seconds of the game, and Bates was able to force a turnover on a Williams inbounds play with 2.8 seconds on the clock. Jeff Spellman's game-tying three-pointer at the buzzer didn't fall, however, and Williams hung on for an exhilarating finish to the regular season.
Bates suffered from a distinct lack of success from behind the arc; their 5-25 showing from three-point matches their lowest percentage this year. Whereas Williams shot respectably throughout the game, finishing with a 42.6% mark from the field and 39.3% from three-point, their 19 turnovers gave Bates 26 points and seriously hindered their second-half efforts to hold off the Bobcats.
Daniel Aronowitz led all scorers with 22 points, while Cole Teal registered his only double-double of the year, putting up 12 points, all from second half three-pointers, and pulling down 11 rebounds. Aronowitz finishes the regular season with 1,223 points for his career, good for 19th overall in program history.
For the Bobcats, the Delpeche brothers both had excellent games; Marcus had 17 points while Malcolm scored 16. Marcus also registered a game-high 12 rebounds for a double-double of his own.
As the team moves into the NESCAC Tournament, Coach App reflected on the season as one of growth for the Ephs. "It's been a fun year to grow with this group. We dug ourselves a bit of hole in January, but to finish NESCAC play 4-1 really goes to show how we have grown, from our first-years to our upperclassmen."
Quarterfinals - Saturday, February 18 (at Higher Seeds)
No. 8 Hamilton at No. 1 Tufts - 2 p.m.
No. 7 Bates at No. 2 Middlebury - 2 p.m.
No. 6 Williams at No. 3 Amherst - 2 p.m.
No. 5 Trinity at No. 4 Wesleyan - 3 p.m.
Semifinals - Saturday, February 25 (at Highest Remaining Seed)
2 p.m. | 4 p.m.
Highest Remaining Seed vs. Lowest Remaining Seed
Remaining Quarterfinal Winners
Championship - Sunday, February 26