WILLIAMSTOWN, MA -- The second-ranked Ephs won their eighth-straight game today against Hamilton 79-56. Tonight's game was the Ephs' fifth in ten days. The Ephs move to 8-0 on the season; Hamilton has a 4-2 record on the year. Said Coach Mike Maker about his team's start, "To get off to an 8-0 start with new faces and new roles, I'm really pleased with where we're at."
The Ephs controlled the game from the opening tip. After opening with an 18-5 run, the Ephs' lead continued to grow throughout the game. Hamilton did cut the lead to nine after being down 18 behind a three from Greg Newton and a jumper off a turnover from Ken Click. The Ephs quickly got the momentum back, however, off a three from James Klemm from the left corner. The Ephs added to their lead until it reached 17 with 17 seconds to play after a downtown three from James Wang. Hamilton, however, got a nice push from Newton as his three just got in the net at the buzzer. The Ephs went into the locker room with a 40-26 lead.
The second half started much like the first as the Ephs continued to push their lead. The highlight of the half for the Ephs was Troy Whittington, who had 14 points in the half including 11 in a row for the Ephs. One of his best plays, however, was actually a pass to Hayden Rooke-Ley at the top of the key for an easy three. Another fantastic play for the Ephs came from Jordan Mickens with 11:28 to play. He fired up a three from just below the left elbow and was fouled on the way up. He made the three and the following foul shot. Although Hamilton continued to fight back, the Ephs were overpowering. Hamilton's full-court press, however, did cause the Ephs some trouble. Said Coach Maker about the press, "You have to give Hamilton credit. They're a full-court pressure, defensive team. We want people to press us. I thought overall actually we handled it very well. It's more our decision-making after the press is over [that] is an area we need to get better at, and we will."
Whittington led all players today with 21 points and 21 rebounds. Coach Maker had only compliments for his center after the game: "I'm running out of adjectives to describe Troy as a basketball player and a person and the growth I've seen on and off the court. I hope people are appreciating what they're watching because he's a Division I player. As talented of a basketball player as he is and the impact he's having on our program and our school, I'm proud of his development as a person and as a student… He's a great teammate and an exceptional leader. I'm really proud of him and how much he has developed over his four years at Williams." The Ephs shot 46.4% from the field this evening and 81.0% from the line.
Ephraim McDowell had 15 points for Hamilton this evening. Pat Sullivan was second with nine points. Hamilton shot 38.0% from the field.
Coach Maker also had high praise for the women's team, who is number nine in the country right now, "I'm thrilled with the success that our women's basketball program's having, and I'm not surprised. They're well-coached. They have a lot of spirit, and they have a lot of returners from a team that went to the Sweet Sixteen. [Coach] Pat [Manning] does a phenomenal job, her record speaks for itself, and she has a lot of talent on her roster. The more everybody wins at Williams, the better it is for everybody. [Pat's] a voice of reason and very experienced. I'm glad to have her to bounce ideas off of. It's really helpful to me as a young coach."
The Ephs' next game will be Saturday. Tip-off is 1:00. Said Coach Maker looking ahead, "Tomorrow's going to be a much-needed day off, and we'll get ready for a physical, well-coached Springfield team on Saturday."