SPRINGFIELD, MA -- The Ephs moved to 9-0 today with a decisive victory over Springfield. The Ephs won 83-60 to keep their perfect season alive. The Pride moved to 5-4 on the year. Coach Mike Maker said after the game, "We played a very physical, tough-minded team on the road. It's a quality road win against a good regional opponent before exams and winter break."
For almost the entire first half, Springfield led the Ephs. After going up early, the two teams traded baskets for much of the half, but Williams led only twice. Eph offense came from many different sources in the half. On the defensive end, Nate Robertson had a block and two steals. Troy Whittington added a block, and James Wang had another steal for the Ephs. Springfield led 35-34 going into the locker room.
Springfield added to their lead at the start of the half before the Ephs went on a 15-0 run starting with a 3-pointer by Wang at the 15:58 mark. Wang added another four points, Brian Emerson and Taylor Epley each added a 3-pointer, and James Klemm added a layup to give the Ephs the 54-42 lead. Although Springfield rallied to cut the Ephs' lead in half behind a jumper from Darvis Rankins and a jumper and a layup from Matt Cavalieri, Springfield did not have enough to come back. The Ephs pushed their lead to 25 points before the game was out. They outscored the Pride 49-25 in the final 20 minutes. Coach Maker talked about the adjustments the team made at the half that led to their second-half run; he also said, "We were taking more pride on the defensive end in the second half. We're only going to be as good as we defend. We were not getting those stops in the first half [that we did in the second]."
Whittington led the way for the Ephs with a double double; he had 27 points and 10 rebounds. Wang added 16 points, and Robertson had another 12 for the Ephs. Robertson also added five steals. Said Coach Maker about his point guard following the game, "He has great vision on the offensive end. Defensively, he's great on the ball and off the ball. It's nice to have him back at 100% contributing to our team like we know he can. He's a valuable player for us. There's so much [that he does] that doesn't show up on stat sheet. He's one of the better players in our league"
The Ephs shot 47.1% on the day. The Ephs went 27-28 from the line, shooting 96.4%. Said Coach Maker about the team's foul-shooting: "I think we've always been a team that prides ourselves on not only getting to the charity site but cashing in once we're there.The last two years, we've been able to make more [foul shots] than our opponents attempt. We're not always going to shoot 96%, but today we [were able to convert]."
Cavalieri led the way for Springfield with 20 points, and Ryan Coburn added another 13. They shot 41.0% from the field.
Today's game was the Ephs' final until the Salem State Holiday Classic on December 28th. They will face off against North Park at 5:00.