Ephs Best Connecticut College 100-63

Ephs Best Connecticut College 100-63

WILLIAMSTOWN, MA—After escaping a brawl with Wesleyan with a two-point victory on Friday, the Williams College Ephs (16-6, 4-4) blew out the Connecticut College Camels (12-9, 2-6) by a score of 100-63.

The Ephs came out with a kind of fire rarely seen, not only in Chandler Gymnasium but in basketball in general. Most evident from the whoops and near-constant encouragement shouted from the bench, the Ephs' energy and passion on the floor translated into fluid and relaxed play as well as pinpoint accuracy from long-range.  With six minutes to play in the half, Williams had scored 43 points and made 9 of their 13 three-point attempts, good for a percentage of 69.2%.

This attitude reflected the culmination of Head Coach Kevin App's advice all year: to enjoy the game and play "like we don't care about the results". App was also consistent in his praise for his upperclassmen after the game,  saying, "We just try to play with that joy and enthusiasm, because that's when this team is at its best. Our leaders, our juniors and seniors, have really hammered that home. They have really stepped up; we flipped our mindset, let our guard down, and have gone out to compete and see what happens."

The team celebrated their seniors, Dan Aronowitz and Taysean Scott, before the game, the final home regular-season game of their careers, and Coach App praised them effusively after the game. "To me, Taysean is the epitome of what being on a team is all about. Despite battling injuries his whole career and not even dressing for some games, he makes us strong just through his presence, his personality, and his leadership. And Dan has carried us all year in a sense; when he's playing focused, confident and loose, everybody responds. It's hard to do it game-in, game-out, and he's done it more games than not. He's a joy to watch when he's playing with a clear mind."

The Camels matched the Ephs early in the game in terms of tempo, setting a frenetic pace which produced 21 combined points in the first five minutes of the half, and also held with them in scoring, largely thanks to two three-pointers by Lee Messier. However, four consecutive treys by the Ephs—two back-to-back from Cole Teal and one apiece by James Heskett and Bobby Casey, catapulted Williams to a 23-12 lead. Dan Aronowitz added another in short order, and after forcing a Camel timeout, more long balls by Mike Greenman and Aronowitz, plus an open bucket underneath by Marcos Soto, extended the Williams lead to 20 points: 43-23. 

The final six minutes saw a distinct slowdown in the offensive onslaught, with both teams' tempos punctured by several fouls and turnovers. Only one field goal was made, a trey by Lee Messier, between 5:50 and 1:19 to play in the half, and neither team scored for two and a half minutes in that span.

With time winding down in the half, Kyle Scadlock heaved a full-court desperation shot but did so with a full six seconds left on the clock, prompting laughs from his teammates and himself, but his miscalculation worked out, as the ball ricocheted off the backboard right into the hands of Dan Aronowitz, who laid the ball in for the Ephs' 52nd point of the half.

The second half quickly became a rout. The Camels initially kept the margin close to where it sat at halftime, relying on the play of Tyler Rowe and Daniel Janel, but Williams, emboldened by their success in the first half and competing against a dampened and more chaotic Camel squad, gradually and consistently extended its lead to 42 points by the midpoint of the second half.

The Ephs continued playing loose and energetic basketball. Cole Teal kept his stroke from three, knocking down three deep balls in the second half, and Kyle Scadlock gave freer rein to his athleticism on drives and cuts. A steal and fast-break layup by first-year Mickey Babek in the final two minutes put the Ephs in triple digits, inspiring cheers from the crowd, and the final buzzer sounded with the score 100-63.

The Ephs' 100-point effort, the most points the team has scored since December of 2014, marks their best offensive game of the season, both in terms of points and field goal percentage—Williams made 60% of their shots on the night. Their 44% mark from three-point on the night, though down from the 70% they shot early in the game, was still good for their third-best long-distance shooting night on they year.

The Camels struggled shooting-wise, and not just in reference to the incandescent Ephs, making just 36.5% of their shots and one-in-three of their shots from behind the arc. 

Dan Aronowitz led all scorers with 21 points for the Ephs, while Mike Greenman and Cole Teal each contributed 16 points of their own. Greenman also notched a game-highs in rebounds and assists, with seven apiece. Lee Messier, largely on the strength of his five three-pointers, led the Camels with 17 points, with strong support from David Labossiere (13 pts) and Daniel Janel (10 pts).

Connecticut College will host Colby on Friday, February 10, while Williams will kick off the last weekend of NESCAC play this season by traveling to Boston to face the NESCAC-leading Tufts University Jumbos on the same day.

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