WILLIAMSTOWN, MA -- The Ephs won their thirteenth straight game today in the wrap-up game of the Williams Purple & Gold Invitational. Williams (13-0) jumped out to a quick lead again Elms College (6-4) and were able to hold on despite Elms' late run. The Ephs won 82-65.
The Ephs came out ready to play and dominant. The Ephs' first-half play relied heavily on 3-point field goals, and the Ephs received contributions from all over. After Harlan Dodson and James Klemm hit threes to start the game off for the Ephs, six others knocked down shots from behind the arc in the first half. Just when the Ephs needed a hoop, captain guard James Wang hit a three from downtown at the 14:42 mark, and first-year Taylor Epley added one of his own thirty seconds later. Brian Emerson, Jordan Mickens, Harlan Dodson, Michael Mayer, and James Klemm also had at least one three in the first.
Said Coach Mike Maker about the Ephs' shooting night, "I thought tonight we attacked, and we were very aggressive against their pressure defense, and as a result we were able to get quite a few open looks from behind the arc. It's a weapon; we feel we have a lot of guys who can knock down threes, and we have a lot of confidence in them."
The Blazers brought a 3-pointer game of their own to respond to the Ephs' explosive offense. Arsenio Avant and Juan Alverio each had one three in the half while Cecil Avant and Bryant Corcoran had two each. Brittain Purcelle also had seven points for the Blazers in the first half. Their offensive action, however, was not enough to overpower the Ephs, and Williams went into the locker room with a 48-29 lead.
After the Ephs' second half started with a 3-pointer from Dodson and two 3-pointers from Klemm – one from the top right corner and another from the top-of-the-key with a hand in his face – it looked as if the Ephs might pull away. The Blazers, however, refused to go away. Elms' pressure defense caused the Ephs some trouble. The Ephs' lead stayed around 20 points until the 9:56 mark when the Blazers began to chip away at it. The Blazers went on a 9-0 run; David McDaniel had four points, Edgar Martinez and Cecil Avant each added a jumper, and Purcelle hit a free throw to cut the Eph lead to 11. The Ephs responded, however, and were able to pull away behind Emerson, Mayer, and Wang field goals.
Coach Maker credited his guards with the Ephs' non-panicked response to the Blazers' run, "I think we have an experienced backcourt. I think Nate Robertson, in particular, is really a great decision-maker. He and James Wang have logged a lot of minutes, and they handled most of the pressure for us. We have a lot of confidence. It's a player's game, and we allow them to play freely within our structure. Our players take advantage of what the defense gives [us], and we were attacking as best we could."
Leading the way for the Ephs this evening was Wang with 13 points and Emerson with 11. The Eph scoring was very spread out tonight. "I think we had a lot of contributions from a lot of guys. Balanced scoring makes you more difficult to guard. We're still trying to find ourselves a little bit. With Troy out of the rotation, we're a little different; we don't have that interior presence, so we're much more perimeter-oriented; it's going to take us a little while to get comfortable. Overall, I'm very pleased with our effort against a well-coached, athletic, disruptive, defensive team. For us to be able to score 82 points and shoot a high percentage, I'm very pleased." The Ephs shot 46.7% from the field.
Avant was the only player in double digits for the Blazers; he had 10 points. The Blazers shot 33.3% from the field.
The Ephs' next game is Saturday at rival Amherst. The game starts at 2:00. Below is more information about the Invitational's first matchup of the evening between Clarkson and Westfield.
Clarkson (7-3) defeated Westfield (4-9) 67-47 in the second day of the Williams Purple & Gold Invitational.
Up just one point in the first half, Clarkson junior guard Felix Llanos hit a three from the top left corner to push the lead to four with just over 11:30. After a defensive stop, he swooshed another three to push the lead to seven. Westfield, however, would not go away.
The Owls fought back on the shoulders of Matt Devine who was unstoppable in the first half. He had two quick shots inside the paint – one a put back off a rebound – and a beautiful pass to Marcellus Lee that resulted in another two. A little while later, Devine was fouled on his way up for a layup; he made the shot and the following free throw to pull the Owls within two. Devine had 13 of the Owls' first 17 points and 15 points in the half. The Owls tied the game off of a steal by Eugene Turner that he took the length of the court for the layup.
The Golden Knights did not stop, however, and were able to go into the locker room with the seven-point lead.
Out of the break, the Golden Knights continued to add to their lead. Clarkson started the second half on a 20-6 run. Leading the way on that run was Jonathan Hood, who also caused two Westfield offensive fouls. He had six points in the second half.
Westfield continued to fight. After an 11:45 timeout, the Owls went into a full-court press and immediately caused a turnover. Although the Owls were able to cut the lead down, Clarkson had three dagger threes – two from Shawn Lasalita and one from Tyler Barron – that helped cement the Golden Knights' victory.
Matt Devine had 19 for the Owls; Marcellus Lee had 14 for Westfield. Westfield shot 44.9% from the field.