WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – The Williams men's basketball team defeated the Bates Bobcats (11-10, 1-6 NESCAC) tonight 92-70. The Ephs (18-3, 6-1 NESCAC) started the second half on a 12-0 run that they were able to ride for the rest of the game.
Down 29-28 with just under six minutes to play in the opening frame, the Ephs started to pull away. Michael Mayer hit a lay-up before Duncan Robinson finished a pretty move in the paint. John Weinheimer then drove to the hoop for two to give the Ephs the seven-point lead. Max Eaton tried to get the Bobcats back in the game when he finished off of an offensive rebound; however, Mike Greenman added a 3-ball from downtown with the help of a pretty screen from Ryan Kilcullen. The three forced the first Bates timeout. Malcolm Delpeche finished in the paint out of the break to cut it back to 38-32, but Mayer hit a jumper from the left elbow to keep the Eph lead at eight. Following a pair of free throws from Delpeche, the Ephs pushed their lead to double digits after Greenman took the ball coast-to-coast for a lay-up and Robinson hit a long ball from the top-of-the-key.
Despite the Ephs' growing lead, the Bobcats managed to keep the game close going into the break. A three from Mike Boornazian snuck into the hoop and Billy Selmon hit a jump shot. Daniel Wohl hit a lay-up for the Ephs before Selmon responded with a 3-pointer for the Bobcats. Mayer converted a pair of free throws, but Graham Safford finished both ends of a one-and-one opportunity with two seconds to play. The Ephs entered the locker room up 49-44.
Out of the break, the Ephs took a decisive lead with a 12-0 run. To start the half they got lay-ups from Wohl, Greenman, and Mayer. Mayer then added a pretty turn-around jumper to push the lead to 57-44 and force a Bates timeout. The Bobcats were unable to convert out of the timeout, and Robinson and Daniel Aronowitz each added a lay-up to push the lead to 17. Boornazian finally broke the four-minute scoring drought for the Bobcats with a 3-ball. He added another long ball from the left baseline to cut the deficit to 11, but Kilcullen hit a long ball for the Ephs from the top right part of the key to quiet any potential momentum from the pair of threes.
Despite aggressive play from the Bobcats, they were unable to cut the deficit to single-digits for the rest of the game.
Leading the way tonight for the Ephs was Mayer with 25 points. Wohl added 19 on 8-for-11 shooting, and Robinson and Greenman rounded out the double-digits club with 16 and 12 respectively. The Ephs, who shot 59.4% from the floor this evening, were without starters Taylor Epley and Hayden Rooke-Ley due to injuries.
Boornazian led for Bates with 18. Safford added 11 for the Bobcats, who were 40.0% from the field.
Said head coach Mike Maker after the game about the Eph offense, "I thought we shared the ball exceptionally well tonight; I thought we were aggressive. Because we can pass it, we shoot a high percentage. We have a lot of balance – again, we had four guys in double figures. Certainly the big fellow, Michael, was a focal point for us getting the ball on the interior. It was a tough match-up, and we went to him early and often, and he delivered."
Added Maker about the second-half start, "I thought we guarded much better to start the second half. We made it an emphasis at halftime in the talk that we needed more energy guarding off the bounce. They were hurting us in the first half whether we were man or zone with dribble penetration, and I thought we did a better job of that and controlling the glass [in the second half]."
The Ephs return the court tomorrow to take on Tufts at 4:00 PM. The match-up is the Ephs' final regular-season game in Chandler. The Ephs will honor their seniors tomorrow: Mayer, Weinheimer, Epley, Matt McCreary, and Greg Payton. Said Maker looking towards that, "The thing that makes it special for me is that each of those guys has represented not only the program but the institution the right way off the court, so that means the most to me. Tomorrow will be a special night. I hope it won't be the last game we play in Chandler, but certainly we will honor them tomorrow, and I hope we get a good turnout. Certainly those guys deserve it."