Middlebury, VT - The Williams College Ephs (13-4, NESCAC 3-2) were topped by the Middlebury College Panthers (13-3, NESCAC 4-1) in a Saturday mid-afternoon showdown
The game started out as a defensive battle. Five minutes into the game the score was 7-6 with Middlebury up on the Ephs. As the half continued, both teams decided to attack the basket earning both team's opportunities at the stripe.
With 13:44 left in the half, junior Bobby Casey gave the Ephs the lead at 11-9 with a three-pointer off the dribble. The Panthers leveled the score a minute later off of a layup from Joey Leighton. On the next possession, senior Mike Greenman gave the Ephs the lead with the team's third three-pointer of the half. Ephs were up 14-11. The Panthers tried to regain the lead, but the Ephs kept knocking down shots to stay ahead of them. The Ephs started to build on their lead with a three from Mike Greenman and a tip-in from sophomore Matthew Karpowicz, which put the Ephs up 21-13.
The Panthers went on a 5-0 run to cut into the Ephs' lead and bringing the score to 21-18. After the run, both teams upped their defensive presence and kept each other off the board for a minute in a half. senior Cole Teal broke the drought with a floater in the lane. Middlebury came right back at the Ephs with back to back threes to get a 24-23 edge on the Ephs with 2:16 left in the half. The rest of the half saw several lead changes, and at the end of the half, the Panthers were up 31-28.
The second half started out with both teams trading baskets, but soon after Middlebury went on a run led by Hilal Dahleh to bring them up by 39-31. The Ephs cut into the lead with a dunk and a three-pointer from James Heskett and a layup through contact by Matthew Karpowicz to bring the Ephs within 5, but the Panthers kept their distance with a three-pointer from Joey Leighton to bring the score to 46-38. The Panthers held their lead and were able to extend it to 10 points with 12:42 left to go in the game
The Panthers got their lead up to 16, but the Ephs made a late-game push trying to cut the lead. Through solid defense and some good shooting by Bobby Casey, the Ephs they were able to cut the lead to 4 points with 41 seconds left in the game. The two teams traded off baskets keeping the difference at 4 and the Panthers were able to hold off the Ephs and win 70-66
"I was proud that we fought until the end and gave ourselves a fighting chance at the end," said head coach Kevin App. "But we weren't tough enough throughout the 40 minutes to whether the storm. I thought we let too much affect us, and we have to trust in what we are doing. I think those stretches where we lost our poise really came back to affect us."
The Ephs next game will be on Monday the 22nd at 7 p.m. at hone against St. Joseph's (VT).