BRUNSWICK, ME – On the second weekend of NESCAC play, the Bowdoin College Polar Bears took the lead early against the Williams College Ephs and never gave it up, leading by as much as twenty before Williams narrowed the game to its final score of 67-60.
Williams falls to 10-5 on the year and 1-2 vs. NESCAC opponents with the loss, while Bowdoin improves to 10-4, 2-1 in conference play.
Bowdoin opened the game with 8 unanswered points, including two threes by Matt Palecki. Daniel Aronowitz was able to break the streak with a layup, keying 8 consecutive points for Williams, cutting the Bowdoin lead to two 4 minutes into the game.
At this point, the first half became a story of Bowdoin making shots and Williams not. The Ephs failed to score for the next five minutes of play, allowing Bowdoin, who kept scoring consistently, to build a 14-point lead. Williams players missed 6 straight shots, including three consecutive three-point attempts on one possession.
Aronowitz finally broke the Ephs' dry spell with a trey and then a tough layup; Arnowtz scored 12 of the Ephs' first 15 points. But even these buckets performance couldn't turn around what had been a miserable first half for Williams, and a series of turnovers prevented them from capitalizing.
Finally, with under 4 minutes to go in the half, Williams started clawing their way back into the game. Ryan Kilcullen and Daniel Wohl both sunk three-pointers, but Bowdoin would have the last word; Bryan Hurley drilled a three-pointer as time expired in the half to extend the Polar Bear lead to 17 points, 40-23, going into the half.
Williams shot 24% in the first half and only made 4 of their 19 three-point attempts, while Bowdoin was able to convert 47.1% of their shot attempts and a cool 50% of their treys, 6 of 12. Only four Eph players scored in the first half led by Aronowitz with 13, while Bowdoin's prolific scoring in the half was well-distributed around the team, with 10 points by Keegan Pieri and 9 by Lucas Hausman.
Mike Greenman, apparently trying to make up for his 0-8 shooting performance in the first half, sunk two threes for Williams to open the second half, but the Williams defense, however, seemed to fare no better against Bowdoin shooters. The Ephs made no significant dent in the Bowdoin lead for much of the second half.
Williams played with excellent ball movement in the second half, clearly trying to stretch the Bowdoin offense with rapid-fire passing around the perimeter. This strategy began to succeed as Bowdoin cooled off shooting-wise; the Ephs began eating into the deficit utilizing more accurate three-point shooting than in the first half. Greenman contributed another three, as did Kilcullen, Wohl, and Aronowitz to help close the gap.
With just over five minutes left to play, Daniel Wohl drained a jumper to finally pull the Ephs within ten points, 57-48. After Bryan Hurley answered with a bucket of his own, Daniel Aronowitz drained a three ball from the top of the key to cut the deficit to 8.
A steal and drive by Daniel Wohl set up a tip-in by Daniel Aronowitz that put the score at 61-55 with under two minutes to go. Aronowitz couldn't sink a three after another steal by Wohl, and the Ephs began resorting to intentional fouls to stop the clock.
Matt Palecki missed the front end of his 1-and-1 opportunity, and Ryan Kilcullen drilled a three-pointer, cutting the deficit to only 3 three points with 45 seconds remaining in regulation. Lucas Hausman converted both of his foul shots following another intentional foul to bring the lead back up to five.
The resulting inbounds pass was stolen by Bryan Hurley, forcing another Williams foul and setting up another Polar Bear free throw. Daniel Wohl raced down the court and made a layup with 24 seconds left, but Bowdoin kept making free throws off of the Ephs' intentional fouls. Mike Greenman couldn't make his last-minute three-pointers fall, and time expired with the score 67-60 in Bowdoin's favor.
After the game, Williams head coach Kevin App put a lot of emphasis on playing with energy: "We didn't play with the energy you need to win on the road in the first half; we dug ourselves a hole… We gave away some easy shots and then we started panicking and not sticking to our principles. To their credit, our guys fought back and found a way to get us back in the game, but Bowdoin was making good shots and playing very well."
Williams outscored Bowdoin 37-27 in the second half and shot markedly better than in the first half, making 38% of their shots and 33% from three for a percentage on the game of 31.7% and 27.%, respectively. Bowdoin kept up their high offensive production in the second half; the Polar Bears shot 43.6% from the field and 50% from three on the game.
Daniel Aronowitz, who almost single-handedly carried the Eph offense in the first half, finished with a game-high 22 points, while Keegan Pieri led Bowdoin with 20 in addition to leading all rebounders with 7 boards.
Coach App characterized Aronowitz as, "a high-energy player and a really good all-around player. He really came out with the most energy and confidence, he was going to attack no matter what and that's what he's been doing for us all year."
Williams travels to Waterville to face Colby College on Saturday, while Bowdoin will host Hamilton on the same day.