WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – The Williams men's basketball team gave their seniors a Senior Day to remember this afternoon against the Tufts Jumbos (11-11, 2-6 NESCAC). The Ephs (19-3, 7-1 NESCAC) defeated the Jumbos 93-70 today. They celebrated their seniors before the game as today was their final regular-season game in Chandler Gymnasium. The Ephs have five seniors: Taylor Epley, Michael Mayer, Matt McCreary, Greg Payton, and John Weinheimer. Including today's win, the senior class has compiled an impressive record of 91-19 over the last four year.
Said head coach Miker Maker about his senior class after the game, "To me the senior class – and Hayden [Rooke-Ley], he's a part of that class and has a year back (he redshirted last year due to injury) – their success is great. I think it's well-documented, but it's the way they do it. I really believe they represent Williams the right way. They're conscientious students, and they're immersed in the community. It's a special class. I'm very emotional for us as a staff. I'm hoping that we'll get a couple more games in Chandler and that it won't be the last time they play here."
While the Jumbos hung with the Ephs for much of the opening frame, the Ephs held them to just one field goal over the final 5:33. Tied at 23 with five minutes to play, Ryan Kilcullen dished the ball out to Duncan Robinson at the top-of-the-key. Robinson knocked down the three and was fouled. He converted the four-point play. A few possessions later, he hit both ends of a one-and-one. He added a three off the dribble before Daniel Wohl finished a pretty drive to the hoop to push the lead to 34-23. A lay-up from Mayer forced a Tufts timeout. The Jumbos were unable to convert on their ensuing possession, and the Ephs added to their run as Mayer finished in the paint and was fouled. He made the resulting free throw. Tufts finally broke their scoring drought with a put-back from Andrew Dowton with just under two to play, but the field goal was their final of the half. The Ephs finished the half with a three-point play from Daniel Aronowitz after he was fouled on a lay-up and a beautiful dunk from Weinheimer to cap the 21-2 run and send the Ephs into the locker room with the 44-25 lead.
Robinson scored 16 points for the Ephs in the opening frame on 5-for-6 shooting. Mayer added another 15 for Williams. Stephen Haladyna had 12 in the first half for the Jumbos.
Out of the break, Tufts tried to get back in the game, but the Ephs continued to press on the offensive end. The two teams traded lay-ups to start the half. Wohl then hit a long ball for the Ephs before Tufts had a finish in the paint from Haladyna. A couple possessions later, Haladyna had a pretty pass inside to Kwame Firempong, who finished the hoop. Tommy Folliard added a jumper for the Jumbos to cut the deficit to 16, the closest they would get for the rest of the game as the Ephs' hot hand proved too much.
Leading the way tonight for the Ephs was Robinson with 25 points on 9-for-12 shooting. He also pulled down ten rebounds and added six assists in a double-double performance. Mayer also had a double-double tonight with 23 points and ten rebounds. Wohl added 13 points for the Ephs, who shot 53.1% from the field
Firempong led Tufts with 23 points this afternoon. Haladyna added 20 for the Jumbos, who were 34.6% from the floor on the night.
Said Maker about the Ephs' ability to pull away, "Once again, I think it's our defense that has given us the opportunity to get out and play with numbers and get opportunities on the offensive end. Today we played 40 minutes of zone. Our length and vertical athleticism is really helping us in the zone. For this team, I think it's becoming a little bit of our identity. Offensively, we shared the ball, and we had 22 assists on 34 baskets."
Added Maker about Mayer's and Robinson's performances, "It's two very talented players. I think both Michael and Duncan have been go-to players for us. There's no doubt about that. Their numbers indicate that, but we have other guys, too, surrounding them that give them opportunities. Tonight it happened to be those two. I thnk we had a lot of people step up in the absence of two injured players [in Rooke-Ley and Epley]. It says a lot about the depth of our roster and the character of our guys."
The Ephs travel to Connecticut College next Friday. Tip-off is set for 8:00 PM.