WILLIAMSTOWN – A balanced offensive attack helped the Williams Ephs (7-1) defeat the Fitchburg State Falcons (3-5) by a final score of 106-56.
"Tonight we came out with energy and enthusiasm," said Williams Head Coach Kevin App. "Everyone was locked in and it was great to see."
Coming off a loss to Wesleyan and a narrow victory at Westfield State, the 6th ranked Ephs looked to regain their stride. But they would have to do it without the help of leading scorer and rebounder Kyle Scadlock, who suffered an injury in Tuesday's game. Coach App inserted Bobby Casey into the starting lineup in Scadlock's place.
Despite several double-digit losses, Fitchburg entered the game coming off a strong performance, a 90-70 victory at Clark University.
Without the characteristic slashing of Scadlock, the Williams backcourt of Mike Greenman and Casey led a fast-paced motion offense, which led to many open looks both inside and outside. With the score tied 15-15 six minutes into the contest, the Ephs rattled off a 9-0 run behind baskets from four different Ephs. Nine different Williams players scored in the half.
Having struggled with his three-point shot so far this season, Cole Teal looked to attack the basket. After converting on two drives, the senior found himself wide open from the top of the key. After his shot swished through the net, Teal pounded his chest in a combination of excitement and relief. The three gave the Ephs a 32-19 lead and forced the Falcons to call timeout with just under ten minutes remaining.
"A major reason we can be a good team this year is our senior leaders," said Coach App. "You can see it on their faces. The angst of the beginning the year is wearing off and you can see that they're more relaxed. Cole had a ton of rebounds tonight and was making plays for other people as well on top of making shots and driving to the hoop."
Williams continued to extend their lead behind strong three-point shooting and a high conversion rate at the foul line. The Ephs hit 7 of 14 (50 percent) from deep and 17 of 20 (85.0 percent) at the stripe. Matt Karpowicz' put-back dunk with 3.0 seconds remaining capped off an impressive offensive half. The Ephs led 56-31 at the break.
Coach App decided to keep his foot on the gas pedal and sent his starters out on the court for the beginning of the second half. The Ephs picked up right where they left off, exploding for a 22-7 run in the first six minutes to build a comfortable 78-38 lead. Karpowicz highlighted the run with two thunderous dunks.
With eight minutes remaining, Coach App pulled his regulars. Sophomore Mickey Babek made a significant contribution off the bench, adding 14 points including 3-4 from three. By the end, Williams shot an impressive 11 of 26 (42.3 percent) from three-point range. In addition, the Ephs outrebounded the Falcons 54-29.
"We felt we had to ramp up the physicality tonight," said Coach App. "They did a good job of scrambling early, but I thought we adjusted and used our size and length well."
James Heskett led the Ephs with 16 points. Teal added 15 points and 9 rebounds. Karpowicz had 14 points and 9 rebounds, not to mention several two-handed dunks.
Jonathan Perez led Fitchburg with 10 points, but was held scoreless in the second half.
Williams plays Springfield at home on Saturday at 2 p.m. before a three-week break.
"It's always a big game against Springfield heading into break. We want to finish strong. They are a good regional opponent and may be undefeated coming here. It will be a good test for us," said Coach App.