POUGHKEEPSIE, NY – Senior guard Mike Greenman nailed five threes to lead the 3rd nationally ranked Williams Ephs (5-0) to a 90-57 road victory over the Vassar Brewers (0-4). The Ephs played stifling defense from start to finish, as they picked up another non-conference win leading up to Saturday's matchup against conference foe, Wesleyan University.
"This was our first time on a bus driving a couple hours down to a game. We talked about locking in and competing on defensive end," said Coach App. "We feel we can score points, but we can always control our energy on the defensive end. Eventually the shots started falling and we got our lead."
After mixing it up against Yeshiva, Coach App elected to go with his original starting lineup from the first three games: Greenman, Cole Teal, James Heskett, Kyle Scadlock, and Michael Kempton. Despite the abundance of talent, the Ephs got off to yet another slow start, managing only 10 points in the first ten minutes. But perhaps more importantly, the Ephs defense excelled. Vassar shot a meager 8-27 (29.6 percent) in the first half including only 2-8 (25 percent) from three. The Ephs' length and focus on the defensive end played a major role in forcing bad shots from the Brewers.
For the first ten minutes, the Ephs relied on Greenman for scoring. The senior guard accounted for nine of the team's first 13 points before his teammates found a groove. After sitting a solid portion of the half with two personal fouls, Heskett hit a three from the left wing to give the Ephs a 20-11 lead with 7:18 remaining in the half. Vassar would respond with a 5-0 run, but that would be as close as the Brewers would get for the remainder of the game. Williams exploded for a 15-5 over the final six minutes to take a convincing 35-21 lead into halftime.
Greenman was the story of the half with 14 points, including 4-6 from three.
The Ephs opened the second half on an 11-2 run to extend their lead to 23. While Williams clearly settled into a rhythm on the offensive end, Vassar still could not solve the Ephs' incredible defense. Williams settled for three-point looks in the first half, but clearly came out in the second half with a different mindset. A fast-paced, motion offense led to easy looks around the basket for Scadlock, Kempton, Heskett, and sophomore Matt Karpowicz.
If the Brewers had any hopes of coming back, they were likely crushed when a layup by sophomore Henry Feinberg ballooned the Eph lead to 41 at 71-30 with 11:05 left in the contest. With ten minutes to go, Coach App began to empty to his bench.
After struggling offensively in the first half, Williams exploded for an impressive 55 points in the final 20 minutes. The Ephs ended up shooting 35-56 (62.5 percent) from the field and 10-27 (37 percent) from deep. Another promising sign was the 40 points from the bench in the victory. But the main story remains the improvement of the Ephs' defense. Not a single Vassar player scored in double figures.
Greenman finished with a team-high 17 points. Scadlock continued his excellent start to the season with 13 points and 5 rebounds in only 19 minutes. Junior Jake Porath added 7 points on perfect 2-2 shooting over the final eight minutes.
"One of the things we feel we have with this group is tremendous balance," said Coach App. "Now that we're getting into games five and six, teams are scouting us. They are watching Kyle [Scadlock] and James [Heskett] and seeing how effective those guys have been in the paint. As a result, other looks will open up for other guys. [Mike] Greenman really stepped up for us tonight and hit some big shots when we really needed them."
Hunter Gettings led Vassar with 9 points.
Williams returns to action on Saturday with a home contest against Wesleyan at 6 p.m.
"We're treating these first semester games as opportunities to play different styles and learn about ourselves more than anything," said Coach App. "Wesleyan will be a great test. Facing a NESCAC and Little Three team, the energy and physiciality will be ramped up a little bit. But for us, it's about seeing a new team and new style and seeing how the guys react."