RENSSELAER, NY – In a monster game for Williams senior Hayden Rooke-Ley, the Williams College Ephs (6-2) soundly defeated the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) Engineers (1-4) 86-69, recording their sixth consecutive victory and third straight on the road.
Rooke-Ley scored 31 points and hit 9 three-pointers in only the first half, finishing the game with 43 points, only four shy of the Williams single-game record set by Garcia Major '90 in 1987.
Williams head coach Kevin App commented on his captains' performance after the game: "I can't say enough about Hayden and our other senior captains, Dan and Ryan. They are competitors, winners, and tremendous leaders. Tonight, Hayden carried us and it was fun to watch, but their collective leadership is why our team has continued to get better each game."
Tyler Gendron opened the scoring for RPI, and the Engineers would be able to utilize this in maintaining a slim lead over the Ephs for the next several minutes, relying heavily on the offensive output of Gendron.
However, back-to-back treys by Hayden Rooke-Ley in the space of thirty seconds, the first of many, put the Ephs up by two for their first lead of the game with 13:47 left in the half. The Ephs slowly increased this lead mostly on the strength of a phenomenal shooting performance by Hayden Rooke-Ley.
With the score 36-31 in Williams' favor and 5:49 left in the half, Rooke-Ley sunk three back-to-back three-pointers to launch Williams on a 15-2 run over the next 4 minutes, establishing an almost unassailable lead of 56-39 at the half.
Rooke-Ley scored 16 of the Ephs' first 29 points and finished the half responsible for 31 of Williams' 59 first-half points, including nine three-pointers. The Ephs shot an impressive 67.7% from the field and 73.3% from behind the arc.
For comparison, in one half, Rooke-Ley had matched the former Williams record for three-pointers in an entire game, a record he himself had broken two weeks previously versus Johnson State.
In the second half, the Engineers were unable to seriously threaten the Ephs' 17-point lead. Although at one point they cut it to 11 following a pair of treys by Josh Dugas and Brian Hatcher, Williams recovered and extended their lead back out to around 20 points with a series of foul shots and two quick buckets by Daniel Aronowitz. When the final buzzer sounded, the score was 86-69.
Hayden Rooke-Ley, unsurprisingly, was the game's leading scorer, having added 12 points to his first half total for 43 points on the game, while Tyler Gendron led RPI with 18 points. Eph Ryan Kilcullen led all rebounders with nine boards, only one shy of a double-double, as he also recorded ten points.
Williams made 68.5% of their field goals and 58.3% of shots from behind the arc, while RPI shot a respectable 46.9% and 40% from three. The Engineers did not play bad basketball; they were physical in the paint and shot a rather high percentage. However, they could not withstand the onslaught of Hayden Rooke-Ley and the Ephs' offensive attack.
Overall, Coach App loved his team's energy: "Our starters all the way down our bench were ready, engaged, and demonstrated the appreciation and enthusiasm we need to be successful. This first 8 games has been a demanding, quick stretch of games and I'm proud of how we've competed and grown as a team."
Williams will next play at Springfield on December 6, while RPI next sees action versus MCLA at the Tri-State Shootout in Bennington, VT on the same day.