WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – Strong play from Hayden Rooke-Ley led the Williams College Ephs (3-1) to a 91-74 victory over the Wesleyan College Cardinals (2-2) in a Little Three matchup early in the season.
The Ephs took control of the game early with a 15-0 run only 6 minutes into the game. Three consecutive threes from Taylor Epley, Ryan Kilcullen, and Hayden Rooke-Ley put the Ephs up by 9 and forced a Wesleyan timeout. A three-point play from Duncan Robinson extended the lead to twelve, 17-5, and another three from David Wohl took it 15 unanswered.
The Ephs maintained the double digit lead for the next several minutes, relying on their dominance from behind the arc.
A B.J. Davis trey and a layup by Glen Thomas for the Cardinals forced an Eph timeout with 5 minutes remaining in the half. However, out of the timeout, Eph Duncan Robinson finished in the paint to put the Ephs back up by thirteen, 44-31.
Wesleyan stayed in the game, however, slowly cutting down the Williams lead. The Cardinals rallied in the last two minutes behind a Rashid Epps layup and a Harry Rafferty jumper to bring the score to 47-40. Following a Joe Connelly layup that took the score to 48-44, the half expired.
Williams G Hayden Rooke-Ley led all scorers at the half with 13 points, while the Cardinals were led by Glen Thomas and Harry Rafferty, each with ten points.
Williams sprang out of the half with 8 unanswered points. Rooke-Ley made a lay-up, and Duncan Robinson converted a three-point play on the Ephs' next possession. A trey from David Wohl took the score to 56-44. Two free throws from Harry Rafferty broke the Ephs' streak and brought the lead back to 10.
With twelve minutes remaining in the game, Rooke-Ley nailed another three, and then John Weinheimer was fouled on his successful lay-up. He missed his free throw but got his own rebound, and Rooke-Ley converted a three-point play on the ensuing possession to put the Ephs up 69-52.
The teams traded buckets for the next several minutes, keeping the Eph lead around 15. A Harry Rafferty jumper and then a three point-play also from Rafferty brought the Cardinals within 9 with 4 minutes to go. The Ephs responded, however, with a Ryan Kilcullen layup to take the lead back to double digits.
The Cardinals were unable to do anything further to cut into the Williams lead, and the game ended with a final score of 91-74.
Hayden Rooke-Ley led all scorers with 25 points, and Harry Rafferty led the Cardinals with 19 points. Williams shot 55% from the field, while Wesleyan shot 51%. Williams has won 14 of the last 15 meetings of the two teams, and this win extends their all-time series lead to 138-81.
Eph head coach Mike Maker said after the game: "Since I've been here, I was racking my brain trying to think of a better win in Chandler at this time of the year than this one, and I can't think of one...We were in attack mode, we played beautiful basketball, we shared the ball... and defensively we were dialed in."
Coach Maker also said about Hayden Rooke-Ley: "No one has worked harder or had more adversity than Hayden... He's hungry, he is the vocal leader of our team, make no mistake about that, he's as tough as they come, he has the respect of his teammates, and he's very talented."
Wesleyan will travel to Elms College on November 26th, and Williams will host Curry College also on November 26th.