CASTLETON, VT – The Williams men's basketball team defeated the Castleton Spartans (11-6) tonight 75-62. Up just three at halftime, the Ephs (15-3) started the second half with an 11-2 run that gave them a lead that they did not relinquish for the rest of the game.
The Ephs looked to pull away at the 11:59 mark as they started an 11-1 run and held Castleton without a field goal for nearly four minutes. Ryan Kilcullen started the run with a finish in the paint to make it 14-12. Michael Mayer finished inside off of a pretty pass from Duncan Robinson before Daniel Wohl added a pair of lay-ups of his own. After a 1-for-2 performance from the line from Carnelius Green for Castleton, Mike Greenman nailed a 3-ball for the Ephs to give them the 23-13 lead. Green ended the Eph run with a finish inside, and Chad Copeland hit a jumper for the Spartans. Steve Rosemond then hit a 3-ball to cut the Eph lead to just three, and Rob Coloutti knocked down a long ball of his own to tie the game up at 23 apiece with 5:17 left in the opening frame. The two teams traded buckets for the rest of the half, and the Ephs entered the locker room with the 32-29 lead following a 3-pointer from Robinson in the final minute of play.
Out of the break, the Ephs quickly took control of the game as they started the second stanza with an 11-2 run. Wohl threw down a dunk to give the Ephs some momentum before Chad Pulvum finished inside for the Spartans. The Ephs then scored nine straight points that consisted of a pair of lay-ups from Taylor Epley, a lay-up from Wohl, and a 3-ball from Robinson. Coloutti hit a 3-pointer for the Spartans to cut the Eph lead back to single digits at 43-34, but Robinson responded with yet another long ball of his own before Greenman finished in the paint.
The Ephs continued to push for the rest of the game as they made their lead as many as 18 when Wohl dunked again with 6:25 left to go. Despite tough play from Castleton, the Spartans were unable to overcome the Ephs' early second-half run.
Robinson led all scorers with 20 points off the bench for Williams. Wohl added 16, Greenman added 15, and Epley added 12 for the Ephs, who shot 42.9% from the field on the night.
Leading the way for Castleton was Green with 15. Troy Davine recorded a double-double with 14 points and ten rebounds for the Spartans, who were 35.2% from the floor.
Said head Coach Mike Maker about the Ephs' second-half run out of the break, "It's not about what the coach says; it's about how the players play. We played 40 minutes of zone tonight. That's been our best defense. We held them to 35% from the floor. I thought our defense was some of the best we played all year with the exception of giving up 20 offensive rebounds. I thought our length and coverage on the 3-point shot – especially against Logan White – was the difference in the game. This is a great road win for us. Castleton beat WPI at home who is ranked fourth in the country, and they went toe-to-toe with Middlebury at Middlebury early in the year. It's a possible NCAA tournament team that we just beat on their floor in front of a hostile crowd, so I'm really proud of our players."
He commented on the scoring balance and specifically Greenman, who had a career high tonight as he continues to start with guard Hayden Rooke-Ley on the bench due to injury: "I thought we had balance scoring once again; that's key for us. I think we have a lot of different weapons. Certainly, Mike Greenman has made the most out of his opportunities. He's got great leadership qualities [and] he's as tough as they come… Certainly tonight he controlled the game from an offensive standpoint, and then our zone was the difference.
The Ephs will travel to Middlebury on Friday to take on the Panthers. Game time is set for 8:00 PM.