MIDDLETOWN, CT – The Williams College Ephs (21-3, 9-1) defeated their Little Three rivals, the Wesleyan University Cardinals (11-13, 4-6), 87-70 in the final game of the regular season before the NESCAC tournament.
Both teams started the game slow. Williams missed their first six shot attempts, and only two points were scored in the first three minutes of play. However, a finish in the paint by Cardinal Rashid Epps and then a trey by Eph Taylor Epley injected some energy into the game.
The teams traded buckets for the next several minutes, with Williams maintaining a slim lead. Two back-to-back threes by Taylor Epley put the Ephs up 22-16 and forced a Wesleyan timeout with 8:39 remaining in the half.
Coming out of the timeout, two finishes in the paint by Cardinal Joseph Kuo brought the game to within two. Then a second chance bucket by Rashid Epps tied the game up at 22 with 5:53 to go in the half. A three by Matt McCreary and a pair of free throws by Taylor Epley put the Ephs back up, but the Cardinals kept the game tight.
Williams went on a 10-2 run in the last two and a half minutes to finish the half up by ten, 42-32. Eph Taylor Epley led all scorers in the first half with 12 points, and Jack Mackey led the Cardinals with 11.
Coming out of halftime, both teams came out in a flurry of offense. A bucket by Taylor Epley extended the Williams lead, but Cardinal Jack Mackey answered with a three-pointer. Not to be outdone, Eph Mike Greenman hit a three of his own to bring the lead back up to twelve. Another bucket by Greenman and then a three-point play by Epley extended the Williams lead to 17.
Four consecutive three-pointers by B.J. Davis cut the Williams lead down to 11 and forced a timeout with 9:46 on the clock. Out of the timeout, however, a Taylor Epley trey put the Ephs back up by 14.
Williams stayed firmly in control for the remainder of the game, keeping the lead in double digits. Wesleyan was able to bring it within 10 with four minutes to go, but that was as close as they would get. Williams built their lead until the final whistle, leaving a final score of 87-70.
Eph Taylor Epley led all scorers with 28 points in the game, while Jack Mackey scored the most for the Cardinals with 17. In addition, Cardinal Rashid Epps notched a double-double, with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Williams shot 51% from the field, while Wesleyan shot at 44%.
Williams head coach Mike Maker expressed how "pleased he is with where we're at right now." Maker said, "I am really proud of this team. We've been so resilient through all of our hurdles, especially with injuries, and each time key players, both young and veterans, are stepping up." Coach Maker also praised Taylor Epley for his play tonight, as well as freshman point guard Mike Greenman, highlighting his responsible ball handling over the weekend and calling him "wise beyond his years."
Next weekend, the NESCAC tournament will begin. Official pairings for the first round of play will be announced on Sunday after conference play concludes.