BEVERLY, MA – The visiting Williams College Ephs (9-3) narrowly defeated the Endicott College Gulls (6-4) by a score of 79-76 in a competitive contest that went right down to the wire.
Endicott was very slow to start, missing their first 8 field goal attempts, while strong rebounding allowed Williams to build a commanding lead in the opening minutes. Three-pointers by Mike Greenman and Daniel Aronowitz, as well as a three-point-play executed by Daniel Wohl added up to a 16-1 lead five minutes into the game.
Endicott finally hit the mark with a trey by Drew Sawyer, and a series of missed shots by the Ephs allowed the Gulls to go on a 14-2 run, tightening the game to 26-22 twelve minutes into the game.
A clutch takeaway by Edward Flynn and the subsequent transition bucket by Daniel Aronowitz reestablished the Eph lead, extending it back to 9.
Williams was called for an incredible number of fouls in the later minutes of the first half, totaling 14 in the period as a whole, such that Endicott was able to counteract the Ephs' accuracy from behind the arc, their main source of offense, with consistent success from the free throw line.
Relying on their foul shots, the Gulls cut the Eph lead to two points with one minute remaining in the half, and it was with this score, 39-37, that the teams went to the locker room for halftime.
Daniel Aronowitz emerged as a force in the first half for the Ephs, leading all players in both points and rebounds, with 14 and 5 respectively. Endicott earned 14 of their first half points from free throws, and Williams, despite shooting 43.8% from behind the arc, was hurt both by foul trouble and their 10 first-half turnovers.
Williams head cocah Kevin App referred to his team's fourteen fouls as "the only thing we did wrong in that half." According to coach App, "We really bailed them out with fouls...Endicott has a lot of players who can make shots, and we were getting to close to the ball and using our hands too much."
The beginning of the second half felt like a repeat of the first, with Williams jumping out with seven unanswered points, including five by Daniel Wohl, to go up nine on the Gulls. Daquan Sampson made a jumper to break the Ephs' streak, but Cole Teal answered right back with a bucket of his own.
Williams fended off a rally by the Gulls to maintin their lead, but it would not be enough to win them the game: two layups by Stephen Basden and another by Max Motroni, followed by a trey by Kamahl Walker tied the game up for the first time at 61. Another missed shot by the Ephs allowed Walker to convert a layup giving the Gulls their first lead of the game with 8 minutes left in regulation.
Daniel Aronowitz came up big for Williams at this point, making two straight buckets to break Endicott's run and retake the lead for Williams, but the game would remain very close as the teams traded buckets and the lead.
With three minutes remaining, Endicott went cold from the field, missing five straight, which allowed the Ephs to reassert their long-standing lead. Daniel Wohl converted a three-point play and then made a jumper to give the Ephs a four-point lead and a bit of breathing room. A foul shot by Mike Greenman put the score at 78-73 with 30 seconds to go.
Kamahl Walker was able to hit a three-pointer with 17 seconds left to cut the lead to two. Daniel Wohl converted one of his two free throws following a foul, but Walker couldn't hit the last-second three to tie it at the buzzer, and the Ephs won narrowly, 79-76.
Kamahl Walker led all scorers with 26 points, the vast majority of which came in the second half, while Daquan Sampson pulled a down a game-high 8 boards. Daniel Wohl led the Ephs with 24. With this performance, Wohl's career total comes to 1,015 points, making him the 32nd player in Williams men's basketball history to score 1,000 points in a career.
Williams shot 48.3% from the field and an impressive 47.6% from long-distance, while Endicott made 38.6% of their shots, though they were never able to heat up from three, making only a quarter of their three-point attempts.
On the whole, head coach Kevin App was pleased with how his squad "toughed through it" to get the win on the road. "I always talk about doing whatever it takes to get a win on the road, and the guys really lived that today. Some things didn't go our way, but they toughed through it and made plays to get the win."
The Ephs will open NESCAC play for this year against the Bantams of Trinity on January 9 at home, while Endicott returns to the court against Salve Regina on January 6.