WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – The Ephs (2-0) beat Regis College (2-1) 58-48 today to win the Williams Invitational. After defeating Southern Vermont College yesterday to advance, the Ephs faced a battle today. The game was a hard-fought 40 minutes, but the Ephs managed to stay strong to pull out the victory 58-48.
The Ephs started the game on a 12-0 run. After Nate Robertson scored the opening hoop, James Klemm sank a three from the left corner after receiving a beautiful pass from Troy Whittington inside the lane. Hayden Rooke-Ley added to the opening run with a three of his own, the first field goal of his career. Coach Mike Maker said, "We jumped on them early. We got out to a nice lead. We were sharing the ball nicely. Every basket was a result of an assist. It looked easy for the first four to five minutes. After that, it was more difficult to find open looks."
Ryan Chambers hit a three to put Regis back in the game. Michael Fernandes then took a charge from Klemm. Fernandes was a presence on offense as well; just minutes later, he scored to put Regis within five points of the Ephs with just under nine minutes to play.
James Wang was quick to respond for the Ephs, though, when he hit a three from downtown to move the lead back to eight. He then fed a beautiful pass to Brian Emerson who finished the hoop to push the lead to ten. With just under two minutes to play, Harlan Dodson made a mark of his own. With the shot clock winding down and a defender in his face, Harlan was forced to put up a three from well beyond the arc. He swooshed the basket.
The game remained back and forth for the rest of the half. Robert Edwards made the game a five-point game with just over two-and-a-half minutes to play. Wang was fouled at the 2:01 mark and went to the line for a 1-and-1. He sank both shots. Wang was perfect down the stretch going 6-for-6 from the foul line. He also forced a big 5-second call with just over a minute to play. Coach Maker complimented his guard after the game: "Late in the game we put the ball in the hands of our guards. James has logged a lot of minutes for us, and he's a terrific basketball player. He made crucial free throws to keep the game at two to three possessions."
The Ephs managed to pull away, though, to end the game with the ten-point victory. Although the Ephs won, Coach Maker credited Regis with setting the pace: "Regis controlled the tempo. We wanted an up-tempo game with the score in the 70's or 80's; they wanted the game in the 50's to 60's. They are a very well-coached and disciplined basketball team. It was a good test for us in preparation for the NESCAC."
Wang was the Ephs' leading scorer with 17 points. Klemm and Whittington were also in double-digits for the Ephs. Whittington posted a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds. The Ephs shot 37.5% from the field: 48.0% in the first half and 26.1% in the second. They also shot 85.7% from the free throw line and 37% from beyond the arc.
Although the Ephs have been playing well offensively, Coach Maker's biggest compliments were to his defense. "Everyone wants to talk about our offense," he said. "It's flattering to hear the compliments, but we're most proud of our defensive efforts. We held Southern Vermont to 29% [shooting] last night and Regis to 39% tonight."
Alibrandi led the way for Regis with 12 points and five rebounds. Neal added 10 points of his own. Regis shot 39.6% from the field and 37.5% from beyond the arc. They shot 44.4% from the line.
The Ephs next game is Tuesday night against Wesleyan. The game will be at Wesleyan at 7:00. Said Coach Maker looking ahead, "It's a journey. [We tell the players to] enjoy it. We're 2-0; enjoy tonight. [Then,] we will prep for Little Three rival Wesleyan, our big road game Tuesday night." Below are more details on tonight's consolation game.
Southern Vermont College (3-1) took on SUNY-Cobleskill (0-4) in tonight's first matchup. Southern Vermont won the game 104-92.
SUNY-Cobleskill came out with the early lead led by Damon Franklin, who had 15 points in the first half. At the 10-minute mark, though, Southern Vermont's Taeshon Johnson took a charge with Southern Vermont down two. The foul changed the momentum of the game. Down the other end for Southern Vermont, Johnson made the first and second shot of a 1-and-1 to tie up the game.
About a minute later, Jorge Jorge took another charge for Southern Vermont, but SUNY-Cobleskill kept fighting. After Southern Vermont gained the lead, Franklin made a shot while being fouled to pull within one. Brendan Doherty then nailed a three. Going into halftime, however, Southern Vermont was leading 47-41.
Spratling was the leading scorer for Southern Vermont with 32 points. He also added six assists, four blocks, and five rebounds to his performance. Johnson added another 19 points for the Mountaineers, and Ben Naaktgeboren contributed 17 of his own. The Mountaineers shot 55.6% from the field.
For SUNY-Cobleskill, Franklin topped the box score with 31 points on the day. Brendan Doherty and Taiquan Newkirk were also in double-digits with 15 and 11 points respectively. SUNY-Cobleskill shot 43.6% on the day.