Williamstown, MA – Behind stellar 3-point shooting in the first half, the Ephs defeated Trinity this evening 86-60 at home following a two game road trip to Maine last weekend. With James Wang leading the way with four long balls, the Ephs shot 10-for-15 from behind the arc in the opening 20 minutes. With the win, the Ephs moved to 22-1 on the year (8-0 NESCAC) while the Bantams found themselves at 13-10 (4-4 NESCAC).
To start the game, Trinity showed off some 3-point shooting of its own. Jared Pimm and Brian Ford each swooshed a 3-pointer to give the Bantams the early 10-4 lead just over two minutes into the game. From that point forward, however, the Ephs were on fire. They hit four 3-pointers in four possessions: James Klemm and Harlan Dodson each had one, and Wang added two more to give the Ephs the lead. Although the two teams traded 3-balls, the Ephs hit four more in a row later in the half to help push their lead to double digits. The highlight of the streak was a beauty from Brian Emerson with the shot clock winding down with just over three minutes to play. The Ephs went into the locker rooms with the 44-30 lead.
Said Coach Mike Maker about what allowed the Ephs to take over: "Trinity was really disciplined defensively, and they get into the basketball, and I thought we got off to a slow start, and you have to credit their defense. I thought once we settled down and we used our depth and stayed true to our concepts, things showed. We got some open looks, and we were fortunate to knock them down today."
In the second half, the Bantams continued to fight. Hoping for some magic of their own, Mick DiStasio knocked down a three-ball from the top of the key to cut the Eph lead to 13 with just over 14 minutes to play. Taylor Epley, however, came up huge for the Ephs when he knocked down two dagger threes of his own – one from the left corner and one from the top-of-the-key on the ensuing possession. From that point forward, the Ephs continued to add to their lead as both teams fought for the final twenty minutes.
Leading the way for Williams tonight was Wang with 20 points. Troy Whittington added another 17 for the Ephs, who shot 56.9% from the field tonight as a team. Klemm and Hayden Rooke-Ley were also in double digits for the Ephs with 10.
Coach Maker commented on the Ephs' scoring after the game: "Of course we want to highlight both Troy and James. They're both terrific players. We're at our best when we distribute the basketball equally and effectively because we become much more difficult to defend because people have to worry about more than two players. We'll highlight [James and Troy] when needed, but the more balance we have, the better we'll be."
Eric Dean had 18 points for Trinity while Ford added another 14. The Bantams shot 42.9% from the field on the night.
The Ephs will take on rival Amherst tomorrow at home at 2:00. To date, Amherst is the only team to defeat Williams this season. The Ephs dropped an overtime game to them by three on January 8th.
Looking to tomorrow, Coach Maker said, "[Amherst] is a very talented basketball team. I thought we played extremely well in our first game at Amherst. [We] came up short, [but it] could've gone either way. We're confident that at home with the Eph faithful behind us, we'll give a good effort, and hopefully that will be good enough. I've been proud of my guys all year. I know it's an important game for a lot of the Eph alumni and our community, and we'll do the very best we can to make everybody proud."