HAMPDEN-SYDNEY, VA. — First year Duncan Robinson drained a go-ahead three-pointer from the top of the key with 32 seconds left Thursday night to help rally the No. 5 Williams College men's basketball team to a 70-68 over Hampden-Sydney College at the Fleet Gymnasium.
The Ephs improved to 10-1 overall and are off until Jan. 10 when they open conference play on the road at Trinity College. The Tigers fell to 7-4 with the loss.
After Robinson's go-ahead three Thursday, the Tigers' Greg Lewis missed a trey attempt with 22 seconds to go and Robinson grabbed the rebound and was fouled. However, he missed the front end of a one-and-one opportunity from the foul line. Hampden-Sydney called a timeout with five seconds to go and then in-bounded the ball to Khobi Williamson off the left block with his back to the basket. The Tigers' big man tried a turnaround jumper, but the shot hit the rim, popped straight up into the air and fell off to the right as the buzzer sounded.
Senior Taylor Epley led all Eph scorers with 17 points. Michael Mayer had 16, including 13 big second-half points as the Ephs rallied from a 10-point deficit with 6:20 left in the game. Daniel Wohl added 15, Robinson 14 and Hayden Rooke-Ley eight.
"I thought this was as good a win as we've had in my time at Williams," Ephs' head coach Mike Maker said. "To be down 10 with seven minutes to go, our kids dug deep, they were just so resilient tonight, making big plays on both ends of the floor. This gives us a lot of confidence and momentum heading into league play."
Williamson led Hampden-Sydney with 17 points and 10 rebounds while Mike Murray netted 11 and Leon Hargrove and Mitch Owens added 10 points each.
A Hargrove tip-in with 6:20 left had the host Tigers up 60-50. Wohl drained a triple from the top of the key off an assist from Epley, who then came up with a steal that eventual led to a three-ball from Rooke-Ley that cut the deficit to four.
Mayer kept the run going with a lay-up that followed a Tigers' miss. After a Williamson dunk, Wohl nailed another three-pointer to make it 62-61 Hampden-Sydney. The Tigers were able to hold onto the lead as Murray hit a short jumper and Owens a three, but the Ephs finally caught them with 1:11 remaining when Mayer hit two free throw attempts.
Following Williamson making one of two freebies, making the first but missing the second, allowing Robinson to grab the rebound and the Ephs' to break out in transition, Rooke-Ley got the ball back to Robinson at the top of the key with 32 seconds left and he nailed the game-winner.
Williams stayed in the game by virtue of the three, hitting 12 of 25 (48 percent) in the game, 7 of 14 in the first half alone.
The first half was a back-and-forth affair that saw the Ephs fall down early 8-2 after Eph head coach Mike Maker was assessed a technical foul in the opening minutes. But Williams slowly climbed back into the game with some good defense and hot-three-point shooting, taking its first lead when Epley hit a three-point from the right elbow to make it 18-17.
The Ephs trailed by one when Rooke-Ley nailed a triple over two Tiger defenders. That was followed quickly by an Epley three and a Robinson trey. Mayer then converted an old-fashioned three-point play, rolling the ball into the hoop and then sinking the ensuing free throw for a 32-21 lead.
However, Hampden-Sydney closed the half with a strong run and a dunk from Murray with two clicks on the clock sent them into the locker room at half down by just four, 37-33.