WASHINGTON D.C.--Sophomore Cole Teal and freshman James Heskett combined for nine second half three pointers to help the Williams College Ephs (7-2) defeat the Ursinus Grizzly Bears (2-6) 77-64 in the semi-finals of the Catholic University Tournament. Despite having shot 29.5 percent from three as a team up to this point, Williams shot 14-31 (45.2 %) from behind the arc in tonight's contest.
Ursinus' 2-5 record entering the contest may have been misleading. Two of those losses were by single digits to Division I Penn and 13th ranked Franklin and Marshall. The Bears gave the Ephs all they could handle but fell victim to the deadly outside shooting of Teal and Heskett.
"We schedule these tournaments so that we can play nationally strong teams to prepare for the upcoming NESCAC games," said Williams head coach Kevin App.
Ursinus jumped out to a 17-8 lead five minutes into the first half. The Ephs battled back behind some hot outside shooting, trimming their deficit to 20-17 with just under 12 minutes remaining in the half. The Bears would go on a 12-1 run to open up a 32-18 lead, however, buckets by junior swingman Daniel Aronowitz and freshman guard Bobby Casey helped the Ephs cut the deficit to 10. The Bears held a 32-22 halftime lead over the Ephs.
Williams struggled to find open looks on the offensive end. Even when they did, the shots did not seem to fall. Ursinus nailed five three pointers in the frame and was led by 14 points from junior guard Matt Knowles.
It was the second consecutive game that Williams trailed by double digits at halftime, but also the second consecutive double digit victory for the Ephs. All offensive woes in the first half disappeared as Williams seemingly could not miss from outside.
"We weren't cutting or moving the ball in the first half, so in the second half, we picked up the pace like we talked about before the game," said App.
The Ephs came out sizzling early in the second half. Back to back three pointers from sophomore Cole Teal gave Williams a 35-34 lead. A few possessions later, freshman James Heskett drilled an open three from the top of the key to cap off a 16-2 run for the Ephs. Bears' senior guard Mark Wonderling finished a layup to cut the Williams lead back to 38-36. Heskett would make another three a few possessions later to build the Ephs lead to 5, but Knowles answered with a three of his own to make the score 43-41 Williams with 11:36 left in the game.
A few minutes later, Heskett hit threes on back to back possessions, to give Williams a 54-46 lead. Ursinus responded with a 6-0 run capped off by a Wonderling layup with 6:24 remaining.
A minute later, Teal drilled his fourth and fifth threes of the game to extend the Ephs' lead to 64-54 with under five minutes to play.
The Ephs' defense seemed to soften up in the final minutes as the Bears scored on four consecutive possessions to make it a two possession game at 68-62. A beautiful finish by Williams' freshman swingman Kyle Scadlock made it 70-62 with 1:26 to play. Ursinus sophomore forward Joseph LaStracco made two free throws on the other end to once again make it a two possession game. Teal sunk his sixth three of the game on the next possession to essentially ice the game.
Teal led the way for the Ephs with 23 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists. Aronowitz finished with 13 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists. Heskett also contributed 14 points including four three's for the Ephs.
"I was very happy with our energy and our mentality. The individuals we see in practice every day we're starting to see more and more in the games. We played with confidence in the second half," said App.
Knowles led Ursinus with 19 points.
Williams plays at Catholic University tomorrow at 7:00 P.M.