CLINTON, NY—The Hamilton College Continentals (13-5, 3-2) handed a disappointing third straight NESCAC loss to the Williams College Ephs (12-5, 1-4) with a 94-76 drubbing.
Williams had an abysmal first half, and Hamilton capitalized by accumulating a 26-point lead at its greatest extent. While Williams played much better in the second half, cutting the lead to seven at one point, the Ephs were unable to complete the comeback and finished the game down by 18 points.
Absolutely nothing went right for Williams in the first half. The Ephs shot very poorly, finishing the first half shooting shy of 30% from the field and having only hit 3 of 14 three-point attempts. Despite making the first bucket of the game—a post bucket by Michael Kempton—Williams lost control of the game early. Hamilton immediately established their dominance with nine unanswered points behind two post plays by Peter Hoffman and a corner three by Joe Pucci.
Mike Greenman got a layup to fall and Kyle Scadlock hit a free throw to narrow the deficit to four, but this sally amounted to one step forward before taking three steps back, as Hamilton leapt ahead with another 8-0 streak, this one featuring a three-point-play by Hoffman and a trifecta by Kena Gilmour.
Down 20-8 halfway through the half, William took a timeout to halt the Continentals' momentum. Out of the timeout, Williams gained back a bit of ground and cut their deficit back to single digits with eight minutes to plays, but, once again, Hamilton came roaring back, this time with a remarkable run from behind the arc. Five of the Continentals' next six buckets were three-pointers, allowing them to rack up a massive amount of points in a short time.
Williams, meanwhile, continued their shooting woes and also struggled to hold onto the ball—Hamilton came up with six steals in the first half and finished the game with 21 points off turnovers.
Kena Gilmour electrified the stands with back-to-back treys to set the score at 39-17, followed by two consecutive transition buckets off of Williams turnovers. All in all, Hamilton outscored Williams 19-4 over five minutes, handing the Continentals a massive 26-point advantage with just three minutes to play in the half.
Williams narrowed the lead slightly in the final minutes as Hamilton cooled off a bit from the field, and Mike Greenman swished a wild buzzer-beating three-pointer to set the score at 45-25 at the half.
"I thought we played tentatively and soft in the first half, and Hamilton pounced," Williams Head Coach Kevin App said after the game. "We had a soft attitude, and you definitely can't have that on the road."
Their breather during halftime certainly helped the Ephs; their play showed a marked improvement, with the team nearly doubling their field goal percentage and tripling their three-point percentage. Clawing their way back into the game over the course of the second half behind dominant play by Kyle Scadlock and Mike Greenman, Williams cut their deficit from twenty at the half to just seven with 7:45 to play. Scadlock and Greenman were both in double figures in the second half alone, and the duo combined for over half of the team's second-half points.
Seven, apparently, was too close for comfort for Hamilton; three consecutive Continental three-pointers, including two back-to-back by Kena Gilmour, immediately halted Williams's advance, reinvigorated the home crowd, and put Hamilton back up by sixteen.
A pair of foul shots by Marcos Soto and a trey by Bobby Casey pulled Williams to within eleven, but Hamilton pulled away once and for all with an 8-1 run that featured a steal-and-score by Jack Dwyer and four consecutive points by Peter Hoffman to pull away once and for all. Hamilton's 18-point margin with two and a half minutes to play remained virtually unchanged to the final buzzer, and the final tally was 94-76 in Hamilton's favor.
Despite the final score, Coach App was pleased with his team's effort in the second half to mount their comeback: "I was proud of our guys for coming out and fighting, for playing hard through that second half." He added, "We've been playing with our guard up the last few games, and I think we finally let it down in the second half; it was one of the better halves of basketball we've played this season."
Kena Gilmour led all scorers with 22 points, 18 of which came from three-pointers. Peter Hoffman (21 points, 10 rebounds) and Andrew Groll (12 points, 11 rebounds) both registered double-doubles for the Continentals.
Kyle Scadlock, almost entirely on the strength of an impressive second-half, led Williams in both scoring, with 20 points, and rebounds, with 9. Mike Greenman and Matthew Karpowicz were also both in double digits.
While Williams fluctuated wildly with respect to offensive success, shooting 29.4% in the first half and 53.1% in the second, Hamilton shot well consistently throughout the game. The Continentals hit 47% of their shots and a remarkable 46.2% from behind the arc, their second-best mark from three-point this season.
Hamilton will next face Wells College on January 25, while Williams returns to action looking to snap their losing streak at home against Middlebury on Sunday, January 22.
Coach App looked ahead to MIddlebury, saying "If the guys who came out in the second half who were playing with joy and with passion show up on Sunday, we're a great basketball team. We're looking forward to getting back out there and having fun playing basketball."