FREDERICKSBURG, VA – Taking advantage of a 23% shooting night by the Mary Washington University Eagles, the Williams College Ephs emerged victorious in their Elite Eight contest with a score of 79-46.
Mary Washington's record falls to 25-6 with the loss, while Williams improves to 27-4 and advances to the Final Four with the victory.
The game started slowly, and few shots were landing for either team in the first few minutes. However, an 11-0 run jumpstarted by two three-pointers by Taylor Epley put Williams firmly in control of the game. Dylan Farinet snapped the Ephs' streak with a finish in the paint, but a pair of layups by Michael Mayer reestablished a double-digit lead for the Ephs that would not falter for the rest of the half.
Williams came out in impressive, but not unbelievable, form in the first half, shooting 53% from the field and a remarkable 40% from the three. Mary Washington, however, struggled mightily on the offensive side. The Eagles came out in a perimeter offense to combat Williams' size advantage inside, but their shooters were cold as ice: Mary Washington shot 19% from the field and only made 2 of their first 26 three-point attempts in the first half. Thus, Williams was able to build a sizable lead, going into halftime up 43-20.
Eph Taylor Epley led all scorers with 14 points in the half, while Bradley Riester and Dajon Daniel both had six for the Eagles. Williams center Michael Mayer had a double-double in the first half alone, pulling down ten rebounds to complement his ten points. Led by Mayer, the Ephs out-rebounded the Eagles 28 to 17 in the first half.
Coming out of the half, Eagle Dajon Daniel found some success with inside cuts against the Williams zone, and Mary Washington was able to bring the margin back to under twenty. The Williams shooters, however, showed no signs of slowing down, and there was never a serious challenge to the Ephs' control of the game.
Mary Washington never could heat up, and Williams never let up, continually extending their lead for the rest of the game. The final buzzer rang with the score 79-46.
Taylor Epley led all scorers with 19 points, and both Duncan Robinson and Michael Mayer registered double-doubles for the Ephs. Dajon Daniel led the Eagles with ten points. The real story of the game was shooting percentage. Williams shot an impressive 53% from the field and 37% from beyond the arc, while Mary Washington only made 23% of their shots and 16% from the three. In addition, the Ephs out-rebounded the Eagles 47 to 34.
With the win tonight Eph head coach Mike Maker is now tied with Harry Sheehy '75 for most NCAA Tournament wins at Williams with 15.
This is the third time in the last five years that Mike Maker has guided the Ephs to the Final Four. Overall this is the Ephs seventh trip to the Final Four in Salem, Virginia. The Ephs won the 2003 NCAA title and finished second in 2004 and 2010.
The Eph seniors are making their second trip to the Final Four in Salem, having advanced in 2011. Taylor Epley and Hayden Rooke-Ley played in the 2011 game against Wooster College, while Mike Mayer and John Weinheimer did not make an appearance.
Overall the Ephs are now 40-12 (.769) in the NCAA Division III Tournament and Mike Maker owns a 15-3 (.833) record in the tournament.
Williams will play Amherst in the national semifinals in Salem on Friday night at 8:30 PM.