NORTH ADAMS, MA -- The Williams men's basketball team defeated MCLA (2-4) today 106-71. The Ephs (5-1) jumped out to an early lead and carried the momentum through the entire game for the win.
The Ephs started the game on a 17-3 run led by a three apiece from Taylor Epley, Hayden Rooke-Ley, and Daniel Wohl. Just over five minutes into the game, Ramon Viches finished a bucket inside for MCLA to end the Ephs' run.
After trading buckets for several minutes, Jeremic Bennett finished in the paint to cut the Eph lead to single digits at 23-15 with eleven minutes left in the opening frame. The Ephs responded calmly: first-year Duncan Robinson nailed a long-ball off of a pretty pass from Ryan Kilcullen. After Paul Maurice responded with one of his own for MCLA, Rooke-Ley finished inside to push the lead back to ten.
Over the final 7:35 of the first half, the Ephs outscored MCLA 22-10. The Ephs got a pair of free throws from Wohl to push the lead to 32-20 before Viches hit a jumper for MCLA. Rooke-Ley then went 2-for-2 from the charity space and Wohl finished inside, but Viches hit both opportunities from the line to make it 36-24 with just under five minutes to play. Rooke-Ley hit two more from the line before Wohl finished inside and hit a three-ball. On MCLA's possessions, John Jones went 1-for-2 from the line before hitting a pair of jumpers to keep the Eph lead at 43-29. The Ephs, however, went on a 9-1 run in the final two minutes with a jump shot from John Weinheimer, a pair of free throws from both Epley and Weinheimer, and a long-ball from Epley to end the half. Ruben Delrosario scored MCLA's lone point in the final two minutes.
Out of the break, the Ephs quickly added onto their lead. Epley hit yet another three-ball before Rooke-Ley went 4-for-4 from the charity space. Kilcullen went 1-for-2 from the line to make it 60-30 with 17:32 on the clock. Jones finally broke the Eph run with a finish in the paint eight seconds later. Despite fight from MCLA, the Ephs managed to control play for the rest of the half after the early start.
All of the Eph starters were in double digits this evening. Wohl led the way with 23 points; Robinson added 19 and pulled down 11 rebounds to record a double-double. Epley added 16, while Kilcullen and Rooke-Ley each scored 13. Kilcullen also notched six assists. The Ephs shot 56.9% from the field this evening.
Jones led the way for MCLA with 25. Viches was the only other starter in double digits with 10, while Bennett added 11 off the bench. MCLA shot 35.8% from the floor.
Said head coach Mike Maker after the game, "I think we continue to be very impressive on the offensive end of the floor with balance and sharing the ball. Our distribution has been very good. We're shooting a high percentage from the floor, and it's a result of guys' playing as one unit; I think we're difficult to guard because of that. I think defensively we still have a long way to go. I'm pleased that our defensive field goal percentage continues to come down to below forty again. However, we committed a lot of fouls trying to guard a very quick team off the bounce. We have some areas – and that being the greatest – that we have to sure up if we're going to be the team that we want to be going down the stretch this season."
Said Maker about Robinson's play, "Duncan's gotten off to an impressive start for a first-year player. I think he's blended well with our returning players and is a very talented young man. He's got a high basketball IQ, a lot of confidence, and a nice skill set, and he's a wonderful teammate. We'll look for him to continue to grow and learn within our system."
Maker added the challenge the Ephs have faced with star center Michael Mayer unable to play due to injury; however, he said, "We've learned a lot about ourselves. I think we've had excellent play from Ryan Kilcullen at that position and certainly it has enabled other guys to surface with regards to their production."
The Ephs return home on Tuesday to play RPI. Tip-off is set for 7:00 PM.