BRUNSWICK, Me. -- Senior Troy Whittington scored 14 of his 17 points in the second half Friday night as the Williams College men's basketball team defeated Bowdoin, 85-66, at Morrell Gymnasium.
Said Coach Mike Maker after the game about Whittington's ability to go to work in the second half: "Our players recognize that we need balance. I think in the first half we had attempted 21 3-pointers. We wanted to make sure that we had balance [by] getting the ball to Troy on the interior. It was a focal point in the second half, but it always is when Troy is in."
The Ephs, who were led by junior James Wang's 19 points, improved to 20-1 overall and 6-0 in the conference. Williams is at Colby Saturday for a 2 p.m. contest.
Early in the second half, the Ephs stretched a nine-point halftime lead to 15. After Bowdoin's Justin Nowell converted a three-point play with a drive and foul shot to make it 48-42, the Ephs reeled off 11 of the next 13 points to build a 15-point advantage.
Bowdoin fought back, however, as some hot shooting from the floor brought them within six when Randy DeFeo nailed a three-pointer from the top of the key to make it 64-58. The Ephs answered right back on a Whittington dunk, and extended their lead further after a turnover when Taylor Epley drove to the basket and was fouled, hitting the foul shot to make it a 69-58 game.
The Polar Bears seemed to have life after another DeFeo trey cut the deficit to 69-61, but Klemm stuck a dagger in the hosts' hearts with back-to-back three-balls to make it 75-61 with four minutes left in the contest.
After the game, Coach Maker credited his team with not panicking following the Polar Bears' run: "We've gained so much experience over the course of the season [even though] we have a lot of young players contributing to our roster. I have to credit the players. Their will to win is so high. We have a lot of talent on our roster and depth. We had contributions throughout. We gave the ball to the right player at the right time."
The Ephs were hot from the three-point line in the first half, as Klemm, Wang and Rooke-Ley nailed treys on back-to-back possessions that gave the Ephs a 15-10 lead with just over 15 minutes to go in the first half.
An old-fashioned three-point play from Emerson off a put back off of a Wang miss made it 19-10 with 13:24 to go. Emerson than scored an easy lay-in off a nice pass from Nate Robertson to make it 21-10 with 12:57 remaining, forcing Bowdoin to call the first timeout of the contest. Emerson then drained a long three off the left wing that matched O'Connell's three out of the timeout to make it 24-13 Ephs.
A pretty coast-to-coast run by Wang, set up by a Whittington block on the defensive end, made it 26-16. Bowdoin went on a 6-0 run to cut its deficit to 26-22 before Whittington drew a foul inside and hit one to make it 27-22. But an O'Connell three from the left wing made it 27-25 before Klemm answered with his own three to restore the five-point advantage to Williams.
Bowdoin briefly took a 31-30 lead before a three from Wang and another coast-to-coast transition basket from the Ephs' point guard made it 35-31. A Rooke-Ley three from the top of the key made it 39-33. A pretty Rooke-Ley put back off his own miss resulted in an old-fashioned three-point play that made it 42-33 with 3:25 remaining in the half.
Williams took a 44-35 lead into the locker room at the half. Wang netted 11 points, Emerson nine and Rooke-Ley nine. Williams outrebounded Bowdoin, 26-17, over the first 20 minutes while shooting 42.9% (15 of 35) from the floor.
Leading the way for Bowdoin was Will Hanley with 15 points. The Polar Bears shot 41.9% from the field this evening.
Looking ahead to tomorrow's matchup, Coach Maker said, "Anytime you think of Colby, you think of Coach Whitmore, who is a legend in the coaching profession. They always play very, very hard and physical and tough; it's going to be a challenge tomorrow, and we look forward to it."