SALEM, MA -- Winter break and a lot of snow could not slow down the Ephs. After a two-and-a-half week hiatus – and a one-day game delay due to snow – the Ephs traveled to Salem State to play in the Salem State Holiday Classic. Williams (10-0) rolled to an 85-54 victory over North Park (5-5). Said Coach Mike Maker about being able to get the win following the break, "It's always a mystery after any holiday as a coach when you get your team back out there after a long break. I thought we were a little sluggish [in the first half] which was to be anticipated. Our second half [was better], and we were able to get a quality win against a program that has a nice tradition of wins."
The Ephs' first half started slow shooting wise. The Ephs went just 40.0% from the field and 15.4% from behind the arc. At the half, the Ephs led 30-22. In the second half, however, the Ephs returned to full form.
The key to the Ephs' second-half run was – as Coach Maker said – "getting our legs under us" and "finding our rhythm." A big part of that rhythm was James Wang, who got hot, going 5-for-7 from behind the arc on the game and hitting half of the Ephs' 3-pointers. First-year Michael Mayer also came up big for the Ephs. He scored 13 points in seven minutes and went 6-for-9 from the field. The Ephs put up 55 points in the second half and shot 73.3% from the field. They went 8-for-10 from 3-point range.
Wang, who led all scorers with 20 points, got help offensively from all over. All thirteen players played this evening for the Ephs, and ten scored. In addition to Wang's 20 points and Mayer's 13, Troy Whittington also added 13 for the Ephs on 6-for-8 shooting. On the defensive end, James Klemm recorded four steals and Whittington had the team's only block of the evening. Overall, the Ephs went 56.7% from the field on the night.
Leading the way for North Park was Nick Hoekstra with 11 points. He also led the team with six rebounds. Walid Mouzaoui came off the bench and went 5-for-6 from the field. He had 10 points in 20 minutes. North Park went 45.1% from the field in the game. After putting up just one 3-pointer in the first half, the team shot 11 in the second and made four. Davone Robinson added a steal for North Park.
Coach Maker was very proud of his team's perseverance today. He said following the game, "It's always enjoyable to coach when you get contributions from every team member, and we certainly got that tonight. Chemistry is everything. We have great character on our basketball team and a lot of unselfish young men, which is all you can ask for. They give everything they have. I'm a very proud coach. Hopefully we can get another win tomorrow. We need to be tested [and we will be this week]."
The Salem State Holiday Classic continues tomorrow evening. The Ephs will take on host Salem State tomorrow at 7:00 following North Park's game against Regis at 5:00.