WATERVILLE, ME – Coming off a loss to Bowdoin yesterday, the Williams College Ephs defeated the Colby College Mules 72-65, handing the Mules their first home loss of the season and first loss to a conference opponent.
Williams improves to 11-5 on the season and 2-2 vs. NESCAC opponents, while Colby falls to 10-6 and 3-1 in conference play.
The game was tight for the vast majority of the game, and the 7-point margin of victory for the Ephs reflected final-minute foul shots due to intentional fouls by the Mules. Colby led for the entire second half until Daniel Wohl stole the ball from Ryan Jann and converted the easy transition layup with just over 6 minutes left to play.
Chris Galvin added two more from the charity stripe for Williams, putting the Ephs up by 4 points. Sam Willson drilled a clutch three-pointer for Colby cutting the deficit to two, but Wohl answered with a three of his own to make it a two-possession game with two and a half minutes to play.
The Mules decided to foul with 1:36 left in an attempt to buy more time, but Williams found their stroke from the line, hitting six free throws in those final 96 seconds to lock up the game.
After the game, Williams head coach Kevin App talked about bouncing back after the loss to Bowdoin, saying: "We wanted to come out with some energy; that's something we didn't do against Bowdoin. I thought the guys showed their resiliency and toughness today, everyone from Dan Wohl to Lewis Hayes came out and played hard,"
Turnovers hurt both teams and contributed to how close the game was; Williams turned it over 15 times, while Colby did the same 13 times. In addition, the Ephs were hampered by a weak performance on the offensive glass, pulling down only one offensive board in the entire game compared to 9 for Colby.
Despite that, the Ephs' shooting performance kept them in the game, and they took advantage of Colby cooling off in the second half to take the lead and never relinquish it.
Coach App recognized that this wasn't the Ephs' best game of the year, but he focused on doing whatever it takes to get the W. "It wasn't perfect, but it was enough to get a win on the road and that's what matters."
The first half saw a consistently tight score; consecutive buckets by either team were few and far between and were almost always answered in short order.
Eleven minutes into the first half, a layup by Chris Galvin followed by a steal and pull-up jumper by Cole Teal gave Williams a 17-12 lead. However, Sam Willson would score six points in thirty seconds with a three-point play and then a three-point shot to erase the deficit.
Colby led by two, 33-31, going into the half. Colby couldn't shake Williams, who nipped at the Mules' heels until the Wohl layup finally gave them the lead. Mike Greenman seemed to come alive at halftime; after only two points in the first half, he put up 14 in the second half, including three 3-pointers.
Eph Daniel Wohl and Mule Chris Hudnut led the game with 19 points apiece, while Wohl also pulled down a game-high 8 rebounds. With his eight rebounds in the game Dan Wohl moved into ninth place all-time at Williams with 549. He needs 31 more rebounds to move ahead of Troy Whittingon '11 (579) and into eighth place.
Williams made an impressive 55.6% of their shots and 41.2% of their three-point attempts. Colby shot 42.6% from the field despite struggling from three; the Mules only hit 5 of their 22 long-distance attempts.
Williams will visit arch-rivals Amherst on January 21, while Colby returns to action against Maine Maritime on January 20.