Williamstown, MA- The Williams College Ephs (18-4, NESCAC 6-2) beat The Bowdoin Polar Bears (14-7, NESCAC 2-5) in their last home game of the regular season.
Today's game was the last home game of the regular season for the Ephs, which means it was Senior Day.
"I think for the seniors, in particular, it's like 'woah' and reality kind of hits that we are heading towards the final stretch of their senior year." Head coach Kevin App commented on the environment of Senior Day. "W've got the families here and it's a fun environment, and what you hope to see as a coach is they've worked hard for four years and they get to let their guard down and just go have some fun"
The Eph seniors Adam Kroot, Chris Galvin, Cole Teal and Mike Greenman all have given so much to this Ephs program during their years on the team, and the Ephs were looking to get a victory for their senior class today.
'This class is a fun one for me." Coach App said about the seniors, "They did not expect me to be their college basketball coach. They were the first guys I met when they were 17 and 18 years old and I think I've grown as a coach and they have grown as young men over the four years. We've hung with each other through the learning curve and I think we are seeing the rewards over the past year and a half especially, and they are a great group that's fun to be around every day and make this program what it is"
The Ephs were the first to get on the board with a jumper from Cole Teal. James Heskett added to the Ephs lead with a couple three-pointers and a layup. The Ephs were fired up and got several early stops on the defensive end to keep the Polar Bears off the board until 16:20 left in the half. James Heskett continued to have the hot hand and sunk a jumper in the lane to bring the Ephs lead to 12-2. Cole Teal hit his first three-pointer to bring the Eph lead to 12.
The Polar bears began to cut into the Ephs lead by hitting a jump shot and a three-pointer, but James Heskett was quick to answer with a three-pointer of his own. The Polar Bears were determined to cut into the Ephs lead and knocked down another three to bring the score to 18-11. Bobby Casey added two for the Ephs when he attacked the basket and made the layup. Bowdoin began to shoot the ball from deep and closed the gap and brought the score to 20-19 with an Eph advantage. The Ephs called a timeout with 6:41 left in the half.
James Heskett was the first to strike out of the timeout with a layup. The Ephs began to go on a 6-0 run with points coming from Heskett and Marcos Soto. The run brought the score to 26-19 and resulted in a Polar Bear timeout with 4:55 left in the half.
The Polar Bears countered the Ephs run with a 5-point run of their own with points coming from Liam Farley and Hugh O'Neil. This brought the score to 26-24 with 2:52 left in the half. However, Matthew Karpowicz broke the run with a three-point play, a layup, and a post move fading to his right. The Polar bears were able to get a couple buckets towards the end of the half, but the Ephs led 33-28 at the end of the half.
The Ephs were shooting 50% (14-28) from the field and James Hesket led the Ephs in scoring with 17 points at the end of the half. Michael Kempton led the Ephs in rebounding with 5 to his name at the half.
Cole Teal was the first to strike in the second half with a fadeaway jumper in the paint. Bobby Casey was the second Eph to get on the board with a circus layup with two defenders on him. The Polar Bears were able to get on the board too with a free throw and a couple layups. The Polar bears were able to get within 4 of the Ephs, but Adam Kroot was able to get a block and knock down a corner three to give the Ephs some breathing room. With 11:25 left in the game the Ephs led 47-36.
The Polar bears found themselves in foul trouble with 7 fouls with 10:15 left in the game. The Ephs were able to add to their lead with a couple free throws to bring the score to 49-36. With 7:02 left in the game, the Polar Bears began to put on a full-court press, but the Ephs were able to break it and find James Heskett for a three-pointer. On the next possession, Heskett got the ball down low from Chris Galvin and finished with authority to put the Ephs up 57-40.
With 4:23 left in the game, the Polar bears were down 62-44, but Liam Farley was able to knock down a three-pointer. They began to heat up offensively and cut the lead to 13 with 2:45 left in the game.
The Ephs were able to combat their offensive spurt and hold out for the 72-55 victory.
"The back to back games are tough and to be able to not shoot great, and still keep up the intensity on the defensive end. I think that's when we are playing with confidence." Coach App commented on his team's play today, "I was super proud of the seniors, Adam Kroot comes in after getting a couple minutes this weekend because he has been working hard after his injury and comes in and plays a great game and hits a big shot. Chris Galvin and Cole Teal also had great games. It's awesome and hopefully, we can keep it going and these guys can make some great memories.
The Ephs finished the game shooting 47.9% (23-48) from the field and leading the Ephs in scoring was James Heskett with 31 points.
The Ephs' next game will be at Amherst on Feb. 9th at 7 p.m.