TROY, NY -- The Ephs (5-0) won their fifth straight game this evening against the RPI Engineers (3-1). Tonight's contest was the 65th meeting between the two teams. The Ephs now hold the advantage 43-22. Said Coach Mike Maker after the game, "I am very pleased to get a road victory mid-week against a team that was 3-0 going in that plays a style that is up-tempo and [of] full court pressure; I though we played efficiently on offense shooting 60% from the field, and [we held] another opponent below 40% from the field at 37%." He went on to say, "Starting the season 5-0 with new faces in the lineup – I couldn't be more pleased with our start."
After RPI took the early lead, James Wang started an 11-0 run with a three from downtown with 11:26 to play in the first half. His basket gave the Ephs their first lead of the game at 18-17. Wang added another three less than 30 seconds later to extend the lead to four, and from that point forward, the Ephs' lead continued to grow. About three minutes after the start of the Eph run, Travis Jones hit a three to pull RPI within six points, the smallest spread that they would find for the rest of the game. The Ephs pushed their lead to 11 as they went into the locker room with the 44-33 lead.
Out of the break, RPI made the game interesting when Andrew Darst and Jones knocked shots down from outside the arc to cut the lead to eight. The Ephs, though, responded with threes from Wang and James Klemm, free throws from Jordan Mickens and Troy Whittington, and a jumper and a layup from Whittington and Brian Emerson respectively. With this 13-0 run, the Ephs extended their lead to 21 points before Jeremy Bull hit two free throws for RPI. RPI did rally to cut the lead to 13 with 6:35 to play, but Williams responded with a big three from freshman Hayden Rooke-Ley. About two minutes later, RPI cut it back to 13, but Williams once again found the answer in its 3-point shooting: Wang and Mickens both hit threes from downtown to secure the Ephs' victory. The final score was 89-73.
Leading the way for the Ephs tonight was Wang with 29 points. Wang hit eight threes in the game, the most by an Eph since Chris Rose ('08) hit eight at the City College of New York on December 30, 2007. Wang also contributed nine rebounds and seven assists. Coach Maker commented after the game saying, "James is a handful for any opponent because he can score in a variety of ways. He is such a talented young man. He is one of the better players in all of Division III; he has logged a lot of minutes and he is one of the leaders of our basketball team."
Whittington boasted his third double double of the season with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Coach Maker praised his center after the game as well: "Teams are going to have to pick their poison with us because Troy is the anchor for us on the interior both offensively and defensively. He brings it every night… He is a force to be reckoned with, and he's a vocal leader for us [as well]. I'm very proud of Troy as a player."
The Ephs shot 60% from the field, their best shooting night of the year so far. They also shot 60% from behind the arc on the night.
The Engineers shot 37% on the evening. Jones led the way for them with 26 points. DJ Blakemore was their only other player in double digits with 15 points.
After moving up three spots from last week, the Ephs are currently the fifth-ranked team in the nation by D3hoops.com. The Ephs' next game will be Thursday evening against St. Joseph's (Vt.). Tip-off is at 7:30.