WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – The visiting Oneonta State Red Dragons (1-0) overcame the Williams College Ephs (0-2) by a score of 74-68, delivering a defeat to an Ephs' team looking to rebound from an upset loss to Southern Vermont in their opener two days previously.
Williams' inability to execute on offense was a factor; while Oneonta State did not play particularly well either, they were able to heat up in the second half while the Eph offense remained stagnant
Nothing too exciting took place in the first half; Eph Daniel Aronowitz opened the scoring with a baseline floater on Williams' first possession. The Ephs would not relinquish this instant lead for the entirety of the half, however they also struggled to augment it. Neither team was able to find any kind of rhythm on offense; both teams made less than 40% of their shots in the first period. The first ten minutes saw the Eph lead fluctuate between 3 and 7 points.
Williams ran an extremely fast-paced offense utilizing fast-break style tactics and lots of inside cuts, but execution was lacking; the offense appeared sloppy and overly-reliant on the occasional three-pointer or drive into the paint for their points. Despite the Ephs' offensive difficulties, they came out in a strong 2-3 zone defense that was effective against the Red Dragons, though the rim was also particularly unkind to Oneonta State's shooters. They only shot 29.7% from the field.
Starting at the 6:12 mark, Williams put together a bit of a run keyed by a three-pointer by Mike Greenman and a put-back by Edward Flynn. After a two-minute lapse in the scoring, Daniel Wohl sunk a trey to give the Ephs a double-digit lead, 31-20, with 3:53 left in the half.
Oneonta State gained a little back before the end of the half, and the teams retired with the score 33-25.
Daniel Wohl led all scorers with an impressive 17 points in the first half, including three buckets from behind the arc, as well notching a game-leading 8 first-half rebounds. Eulogio Medina led the Red Dragons with 7 points.
Four minutes into the half, Zach Mager jumpstarted an extended period of offensive success for Oneonta State with a three-point play and then a jump shot. The Red Dragons took advantage of a series of fouls by Williams to close the gap to only one point with 13:22 remaining in the game, but a pair of free throws by Daniel Wohl and a trey by Chris Galvin extended the lead back to six.
The Red Dragons roared back, however, and took their first lead of the game, 48-47, with a three ball by Zach Mager. Chris Galvin answered with a trey of his own, and, coming out of a Williams timeout, Luke Thoreson added two more with a jumper.
This 4-point margin would not last for long. Frankie Kelly gave the Red Dragons a one-point lead with a fast break layup, and two more buckets in quick succession by Kelly and Eulogio Medina put the Red Dragons up 57-52 with 7:05 left in regulation.
A timeout couldn't stop Oneonta State's momentum; Frankie Kelly sunk another layup to extend their lead to seven as the iron continued to punish Williams. Mike Greenman finally converted for the Ephs, sinking a trey with 4:39 remaining. Greenman's bucket seemed to unfreeze the Ephs, but it failed to work the opposite trick on the Red Dragons; Oneonta State continued to penetrate the Williams defense, maintaining their lead of around 6.
A huge three-pointer by Mike Greenman with just over a minute left in the game pulled the Ephs within two, 66-64, but Mikey McElroy converted on an inbounds play to extend the lead back to four. Oneonta State entered the double bonus with 30 seconds left and never looked back, riding their free throws to the final score of 74-68.
Williams only made 39.1% of their shots from the field and Oneonta State fared not too much better, shooting 40.6%. Additionally, the Red Dragons outperformed the Ephs on the offensive glass 14-6, and they forced 6 steals compared to the Ephs' 2. However, it really was the Ephs' failure to make baskets when they needed them that sunk their chances in this contest.
Eph Daniel Wohl led all scorers with 23 points, while Zach Mager emerged as a leader for the Red Dragons in the second half, finishing the game with 22 points. Wohl and Mager also led their teams in rebounds, with 12 and 11 respectively.
After the game, first-year head coach Kevin App characterized his team's play as "not playing confident, not playing free, and not sticking to what got us the lead in the first half…Our guys are forgetting what's getting us that lead, and that's on me." App added, "We're a team trying to find ourself, we want to be great…but we got to get that passion and excitement back because we don't really have any time to feel sorry for ourselves."
Williams will get their next chance at home versus Johnson State on Thursday, while Oneonta State will play at home against SUNY-Cobleskill on Friday.