AMHERST, MA – In a Little Three contest that did not count in the NESCAC standings, Amherst (13-4) used a 13-2 run in the second half to defeat the Williams Ephs (13-6) by a final score of 72-64.
On the game's first possession, junior Jayde Dawson found senior David George inside for a thunderous dunk. After a defensive stop, Amherst junior Johnny McCarthy drilled a three from the top of the key to open up a 5-0 lead for the Purple and White. The Ephs were unfazed by the poor start to the game and fought back to take a 14-12 lead off freshman Matt Karpowicz' jump shot with 13:09 left. However, the Ephs struggled to find good looks on offense for the remainder of the half.
Over the next nine minutes, Amherst would go on a 19-8 run to take a commanding 31-22 lead. The Ephs tried to trim their deficit before halftime and did manage to cut it to 37-30 with 30.0 seconds left. Needing a defensive stop to solidify what little momentum they had, the Ephs could not come through. The half ended just as it started with Dawson finding George underneath for a monster dunk.
The Ephs shot an abysmal 11 of 28 (39.3%) from the field in the half compared to Amherst's 15 of 28 (53.6%). Amherst also shot a red hot 7 of 12 (58.3%) from three.
Senior Daniel Aronowitz hit two free throws on the first possession to cut the Ephs' deficit to seven at 39-32. Williams defense dug in and didn't allow any Amherst points for the first 2:30 of the half. However, the Ephs couldn't capitalize on the offensive end, committing a couple careless turnovers.
It was only a matter of time before the Williams offense broke through. With 14:56 left, sophomore James Heskett made a difficult left-handed finish to cut it to 42-39. On the next possession sophomore Bobby Casey found Karpowicz underneath for a two-handed slam. Following an acrobatic finish on the other end by Dawson, Casey hit a corner three to tie the game at 44.
Amherst stayed calm and started a big run of its own, outscoring the Ephs 13-2 over the next five minutes to open up a comfortable 57-46 lead. Williams would not quit, cutting the deficit to 61-54 on a three-point play by Aronowitz with 4:04 remaining. But the Ephs wouldn't score again for two minutes and Amherst extended its lead back to double digits.
The story of the night for the Ephs was poor shooting. Williams shot 22 of 57 from the field (38.6%) not to mention 6 of 26 (23.1%) from three.
Aronowitz led the way for Williams with 26 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 assists.
Dawson led Amherst with 21 points and 7 rebounds.
Williams is back in action on Monday, January 30th at Fitchburg State at 7:00 P.M.