WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – Williams point guard Mike Greenman came out of the half on fire, singlehandedly erasing the Ephs' halftime deficit with three treys and setting the stage for the Ephs' victory over Gordon, 81-63.
Williams improves their record to 25-4 on the year and advances to the Sweet Sixteen, while Gordon's record falls to 18-11.
Williams went into the half down by seven after struggling mightily to establish a rhythm in the first half. Gordon jumped out to an early five-point lead with a layup by Hans Miersma and a three by Park Thomas. The Ephs were able to cut the lead to two with 12:24 remaining in the half after Daniel Wohl sank a three ball and then got a fast break dunk off a bounce pass from Mike Greenman. However, Hunter Bajema answered with a jumper for the Fighting Scots, and Williams was unable to bring the game that close again in the half.
Relying on stellar three-point shooting from Park Thomas and Alex Carnes, as well as stiff defense in the paint by Hans Miersma, the Fighting Scots slowly extended their advantage, leading by as much as twelve with 2:15 left in the half.
The rim was unkind to the Ephs for much of the half: they only shot 37% from the field and made just a quarter of the threes they attempted, while Gordon, led by Thomas and Carnes, shot 56% from three. A layup by Michael Mayer with a minute to play plus a last second, coast-to-coast layup by Daniel Wohl cut the Gordon lead to seven going into the half, 38-31.
Park Thomas led all scorers at the half with 13 points for Gordon, while Duncan Robinson led the Ephs in scoring with 12 points. Scot Dominic Paradis led all rebounders with 6 boards in the half, and Hans Miersma registered 4 blocks for Gordon.
Halftime changed everything for both teams. Gordon, previously potent from the field, came out cold as ice, and Williams was on fire. After Greenman's game-changing threes, Williams never yielded the lead back to the Scots. A lay-in by Hans Miersma tied the game at 40 apiece, but a drive and bucket by Taylor Epley and yet another three-pointer, this time from Ryan Kilcullen, put the Ephs up by five with 15:58 to play in regulation. Williams never looked back, gradually extending their lead for the rest of the game and closing with a final score of 81-63.
Gordon was never able to recover their mojo from the first half, shooting only 31% from the field in the second period, while Williams shot 58% from the field and 53% from three-point range. Daniel Wohl led all scorers with 18 points for the Ephs, while Park Thomas led the Fighting Scots with 14. In addition, the Ephs had five players in double digits. The big men for each team, Hans Miersma for the Scots and Michael Mayer for the Ephs, had very similar nights, both registering double-doubles, with 13 points and 11 boards.
After the game, Eph head coach Mike Maker said, "This group is really special. When our backs are to the wall, we get a lot better. The bigger the challenge, the better we play…There's more than meets the eye with this team: we're a tough basketball team. We really haven't had a team with this kind of balance before, and I really don't think there's a better offensive team in the country."
Coach Maker and senior Daniel Wohl both praised freshman Mike Greenman's performance, with Wohl calling him "wise beyond his years" and Maker saying he "didn't play like a first-year." Maker also praised Wohl, saying, "Daniel can play every position on the floor. He does a lot of things that don't show up on the stat sheet, and we're just not as good when he's not on the floor."
With the win, Williams will advance to the Sweet Sixteen. The Ephs will face Albertus Magnus at a site and time to be determined.