WILLIAMSTOWN – The stellar play of sophomore center Matt Karpowicz helped the Williams Ephs (2-0) defeat the Stevens Institute of Technology Ducks (1-2) 73-55 in the championship game of the Williams Tip-Off Tournament. Juniors Kyle Scadlock, Bobby Casey, and Cole Teal also had strong performances for the victors.
"We never want to rely on one guy in case of an off night or if the defense takes him away," said Williams Head Coach Kevin App. "I think the guards stepped up today whereas it was more the forwards yesterday. Hopefully that balance makes us hard to guard. Stevens watched us yesterday and really sunk in on defense. It worked in the first half but then our guards stepped up."
The Ephs struggled to shoot the ball out of the gate, missing their first seven shots including four from long range. Fresh off a 32-point performance, Kyle Scadlock finally got Williams on the board with a pretty left-handed finish at the 16:13 mark. The basket helped settle the Ephs, who got a three-pointer from Jakes Heskett and a two-handed dunk from Matt Karpowicz on the next two offensive possessions.
Despite the slow start, Williams rattled off a 13-5 run that included three easy finishes from Karpowicz. But early turnovers and poor free throw shooting prevented the Ephs from creating any separation for a good duration of the half.
For the first twenty minutes, neither offense could settle into a rhythm. The Ephs absolutely smothered Stevens, who scored only four points in the last seven minutes of the half. On the other end, Williams managed only nine points over that same period as they limped to a 30-24 half time lead.
In a half dominated by defense and sloppiness, the Ephs committed nine turnovers compared to six for the Ducks. Williams shot an abysmal 2 of 14 (14.3 percent) from beyond the three-point arc, but Stevens' 2 of 9 (22.2 percent) was not much better.
Karpowicz led the Ephs with 8 points on 4-4 shooting. Heskett added 7 points and 5 rebounds.
Spencer Cook poured in 15 points for the Ducks, albeit on 6-15 shooting.
Cook opened up the scoring in a second half with a three-point play and followed it up with a three from the top of the key. The individual 6-0 run tied the game at 30. Despite missing his first five three-point attempts of the day, senior Cole Teal responded with a much-needed three ball to put the Ephs back on top. Scadlock and senior Mike Greenman both followed Teal's marksmanship with threes of their own to put the Ephs up 41-33 with 16:32 remaining.
Not willing to rely solely on their inconsistent outside shooting, Williams pounded the ball inside to Karpowicz who couldn't be stopped at the rim. The sophomore center also played a huge role on the defensive end, helping the Ephs take a 49-37 lead with just ender 13 minutes to play.
The strong play of Karpowicz in the paint opened up quality looks from outside. Improved three-point shooting helped Williams go on a 24-11 run to build a 73-51 lead with 2:09 left. After a timeout, Williams Head Coach Kevin App pulled his regular rotation players.
"Defensively we were better tonight but we have a long way to go. We have to get better at some little things," said Coach App. "But for the most part I was pleased with our energy and effort on that end."
Williams shot 27 of 61 (44.3 percent) including a shaky 9 of 32 (28.1 percent) from three en route to the 18-point victory. But Stevens matched the Ephs' shooting woes, going 20 of 65 (30.8 percent) overall and 7 of 24 (29.2 percent) from three.
"The first weekend everyone is going through those adjustments. It's not easy to play outside competition for the first time and it's also the first time in two years with Aronowitz not being our go-to guy. Guys are still feeling each other and the game out. I thought for the most part we got good shots," said Coach App.
Karpowicz scored 15 points on 6-7 shooting and recorded 7 rebounds off the bench for the Ephs. Scadlock recorded his second double double of the season with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Casey added 15 points.
Cook led the Ducks with an impressive 24 points. Ryan Coffey added 9 points and 10 rebounds.
The Ephs return to action on Tuesday with a road game at MCLA at 6 p.m.