WILLIAMSTOWN, MA — The Williams College men's basketball team was certainly due this kind of game — but to see it come against NESCAC rival Middlebury was a bit surprising.
Since the calendar flipped to 2015, the Ephs had not played a game decided but more than 10 points and that 10-point loss came in overtime. In fact, their previous seven games in the new year were decided — win or lose — by an average of 4.7 points.
But Friday night the Ephs were running on all cylindars, and ran away with an 87-62 victory over the Panthers thanks to several hot shooting nights that saw them shoot 52.729 percent from the floor as a team (29 for 55).
Williams improved to 12-7 with the win, 3-2 in conference play, while the Panthers slipped to 13-4 overall, 2-3 in the NESCAC.
Hayden Rooke-Ley, Daniel Wohl and Daniel Aronowitz led the way for Williams with 20, 18 and 17 points respectively. Ryan Killcullen and Cole Teal supported them with nine points each, and Darrias Sime added seven.
Bryan Jones led Middlebury woth 13 points off the bench.
The game was close early in the first half and then again early in the second after the Panthers cut a 13-point halftime lead which had ballooned to 18 by Williams to 11. But in each half the Ephs pulled off a 9-0 run that lef tthe Panthers unable to come back from.
After a Mike Greenman three-pointer — the Ephs shot 42.9 percent (12 of 28) from the three in the contest — made it 20-13 Williams, Middlebury's Matt Daley converted a lay-up to make it 20-15 wih 10:27 remaining.
Williams responded with a 9-0 run in which Wohl ha four points, Teal hit a big three-ball and Aronowitz netted a lay-up for two of his 15 first-half points.
Williams was leading by 18 early in the second half when Daly's dunk sparked a 7-0 Panther run which made it 51-40 with 15:03 to go. But the Ephs regrouped once again and coming out of a full timeout by head coach Kevin App, Wohl converted a lay-up opportunity. Moments later Teal sank another three and Killcullen followed with a basket prior to Aronowitz's lay-up in transition off a defensive rebound from Teal that gave the Ephs a 60-40 lead with 12:48 remaining.
The Panthers would get no closer than 14 after that Eph run concluded. The Ephs were able to hold off Middlebury by going 17 of 19 from the free throw line and sinking their final 14 of the game.
"I am very happy for the guys," App said. "They showed, again, that we are a very good basketball team when we play together with energy and enthusiasm."