Clinton, NY – The Williams College Ephs (19-5, NESCAC 7-3) beat the Hamilton Continentals (20-3, NESCAC 7-3) 81-67 in the last game of the regular season.
Today's matchup was of two NESCAC heavyweights. "Hamilton Is a really talented team and have had a phenomenal year." Eph head coach Kevin App commented on the Continentals. "They don't lose many games at home. So, for our guys to come out and play with the fight and toughness to win on the road after being disappointed with the game last night was great to see. I was very proud of them."
The Ephs struck first with a layup from junior James Heskett, the Continentals battled back with a three-pointer in the corner to take the lead. Bobby Casey answered with a three of his own to put the Ephs up 5-3. The Continentals were able to tie the game up at 5, but the Ephs were able to get some distance with points coming from Heskett, Casey and the sophomore Matthew Karpowicz. Bobby Casey put the Ephs up 18-7 with 15:10 left in the half. The Continentals called a timeout after that basket.
Out of the timeout, both teams played great defense and weren't giving each other much room to shoot. The Continentals scored first out of the timeout. They were able to get a couple points and cut into the Ephs lead and bring it down to 18-12.
The Ephs were able to counter the Continental run with a three-pointer by senior Adam Kroot. Sophomore Henry Feinberg put the Ephs up 8 after layup through contact and a free throw. However, the Continentals were quick to respond with a shot from deep to bring the score to 28-23 with 8:55 left to go in the half. The Continentals were able to cut the lead down to 3 with 7:26 left in the half.
With 6:24 left in the half, the Continentals tied the game with a corner three. Bobby Casey returned the lead to Eph hands with a corner three of his own moments later. The Ephs were determined to keep their lead and made several hustle plays on defense, notably a block by Matthew Karpowicz and Adam Kroot diving to secure a rebound.
The Ephs built on their lead with a couple three-point shots, but the Continentals battled back and tied the game at 41-41 at the end of the half.
The Ephs were shooting 51.7% (15-29) from the field and 46.7% (7-15) from deep. Leading the Ephs in scoring was Bobby Casey with 19 at the half, he also led the team in assists, with 4. Leading the Continentals in scoring was Kena Gilmour with 13 points.
A dunk from James Heskett opened the second half, but the Continentals were able to gain the lead off of a step back three-pointer. This was their first lead since the first 46 seconds of the game. Bobby Casey gave the Ephs back the lead after being fouled while shooting a three. The Continentals made another three-pointer to get a two-point edge over the Ephs.
After several minutes of back-and-forth basketball, James Heskett gave the Ephs a 1-point lead after hitting a layup through a foul. Heskett was then able to extend the Ephs to three with a mid-range jumper.
With just under 10 minutes left in the second half, the Ephs led by 1. On the Ephs' next offensive possession, Henry Feinberg attacked the rack and put in a layup through contact. He got fouled on the way and converted the three-point play. The Ephs continued to build on their lead and with 7:41 left Wiliams was up 64-57. With 5:11 remaining, the Ephs were up 10 and the Continentals called a timeout.
Out of the timeout, the Ephs forced a turnover and on the offensive side James Heskett was fouled and sent to the line. With four minutes left in the game, the Continentals put on a full court press to try to turn the ball over.
With 1:30 left in the game, the Continentals had the ball and were down by 10. They were looking for an open look, but could not convert on the three-point shot
The Ephs held their composure under pressure and collected an 81-67 win over the Continentals.
"I thought we played like a poised and tough team," coach App commented on the victory. "It was a great team victory, and we had foul trouble. Bobby scored some points and made a lot of shots, but Adam Kroot came in and over 3 of the last four games and has come in and absolutely given us tremendous minutes, and made a couple energy plays. I was really proud of our upperclassmen for leading this team and not letting the setback last night affect how we played today."
The Ephs finished the game shooting 54.3% (25-46) from the field and 45% (9-20) from behind the arc. Leading the Ephs in scoring was Bobby Casey with 31 points and James Hesket added 24.
"We love this time of year," coach App commented on the upcoming playoffs. "Next week is a unique one where we only prepare for one game. Our constant message is we have to find things to improve and get better at and become a better version of ourselves next week. It's a fun time of year. I think our guys felt that this weekend. Playing important games against talented teams is why you compete in the NESCAC and why this time of year is really fun."
The Ephs next game will be a playoff game, likely at home. The NESCAC Tournament seeds will be announced on Sunday following the Tufts vs. Trinity game.