WATERVILLE, ME--After losing their first two NESCAC games, the Williams College Ephs (12-3, 1-2) made a statement with a 72-66 win over the Colby College Mules (7-7, 0-3) in a game that was not as close as the final score would indicate.
After a pair of tough losses last weekend, Williams head coach Kevin App described his team's preparations this week as enthusaistic and "anxious to get back out there and compete." "We really played with a lot of energy and confidence," he said, "especially in the first half. Everybody came out for us today."
Both teams came out of the gate firing from long distance. Twelve of the game's first twenty shots were three-pointers, and fifteen of the first twenty-three points came from those shots. Colby's Patrick Stewart and Williams's Dan Aronowitz came out on fire, combining for four of those treys.
Aronowitz's third long-distance bucket of the night, which equalized the teams at 13, marked a turning point in the half. This bucket launched Williams onto a run of thirteen unanswered points, giving them a substantial lead that Colby struggled to shake off. Marcos Soto followed up Aronowitz with a trey of his own, followed by a post bucket by Matthew Karpowicz and another three-pointer by Mike Greenman. After a Colby timeout, Cole Teal stole the ball to set up a Karpowicz dunk on the other end.
Ethan Schlager knocked home a three to break the Ephs' momentum, and Sean Gilmore hit a pair of foul shots to cut the Ephs' margin to seven with 7:58 to play. After trading turnovers, however, Williams caught back on fire while Colby struggled to make the shots that seemed to fall for them earlier.
The Ephs finished the half on a 17-4 run and in total outscored the Mules 31-11 after Aronowitz's trey early in the half. Two buckets apiece by Marcos Soto and Kyle Scadlock, plus a three-pointer by Mike Greenman extended the Eph lead over the final five minutes of the half. Scadlock slammed home a dunk almost at the buzzer to put the score at 44-25 as the Ephs went into the locker room.
Williams shot 59.4% from the field and an impressive 6-12 from three-point range in the first half, while Colby's numbers reflected their struggle in the latter part of the period: the Mules made just 34.6 of their field goal attempts.
Colby came out of the break revitalized and shot a good deal better in the second half than they did in the first: 55.2% from the field and 50% from behind the arc. In the first several minutes they were able to draw the Eph lead down from almost twenty to around thirteen, but Williams too still had their stroke, holding the margin above thirteen for most of the second half.
With under six minutes to play, Ethan Schlager nailed a three-pointer to break that thirteen-point mark, putting the score at 68-56, and that bucket seemed to put a spring back in the Mules' step. Tyler Williams got a layup to fall on the next possession, and after a couple of Williams misses, Patrick Stewart hit a big three to cut the deficit to seven, 68-61.
Colby failed to keep their run going, however, as both teams went cold, combining for four missed shots and two turnovers over the next two minutes. A Marcos Soto layup for the Ephs was the only score for either team until Colby resorted to intentional fouls in the final thirty seconds. Mike Greenman and Joe Connelly traded pairs of free throws, and Ethan Schlager hit a three-pointer with just three seconds on the clock to put the final margin at just six, 72-66.
Patrick Stewart led all scorers with 17 points for the Mules, with support from Schlager, who attempted only three-pointers in thee game and sunk four, giving him 12 points on the game. Stewart also led the Mules in rebounds with five.
Sophomore Matthew Karpowicz followed up a strong game against Trinity last week with a career game for the Ephs, racking up 16 points on a 7-7 performance from the field. Daniel Aronowitz was just one rebound shy of his third double-double of the season, registering 10 points and a game-high 9 boards.
Coach App praised Karpowicz after the game, saying that "he gives us a lot of different dimensions at the post position." "He's starting to figure out the pace of play and where he can be effective," App added: "Matt is really demonstrating that he's a talented basketball player."
Despite a less-than-stellar second half statistically for Williams--40% from the field and just 23% from three--the Ephs shot 51.9% on the game and 36% from behind the arc. Colby hit an impressive 43.5% of their three-point attempts (10-23) and shot 45.5% from the field overall.
Colby will host Dean College on Tuesday, while Williams will travel to Brunswick, ME, to face the Bowdoin Polar Bears on Saturday.