Williamstown, MA – The Williams College Ephs (1-0) defeated the Salem State Vikings (1-2) 91-79 in the opening game of the Tip-off Tournament.
Today's matchup marks the beginning of the Eph's 2018-2019 campaign. The Ephs host the Tip-off Tournament, which features Salem State, Southern Vermont College, Mount Saint Vincent, and Williams College.
"Any time you can win the first one and learn a lot is great. We love to play Salem State because they test us every time" Head Coach Kevin App commented on opening the season with Salem State. "It's hard. We don't get to scrimmage. They've played a couple of games and this is our first, but I'm proud of our veterans for stepping up."
The Salem State Vikings were the first to get on the board with two baskets from Sean Bryan. The Ephs were faced with tough interior defense by the Vikings, which caused the Ephs to earn their first points from the stripe. Senior Bobby Casey opened up the scoring from the floor with a shot from behind the arc. On the next possession, Bobby made his second three of the game off of the assist from junior Henry Feinberg. After the three-pointer, the Vikings called a timeout.
After the timeout, the Ephs continued to hit from behind the arc with one coming from senior James Heskett. The Vikings answered with a layup by Fern Berard. The Ephs countered the Vikings offensive push with a third three from Bobby Casey, who created his own shot after a lethal crossover. Several possessions later the Vikings struck back with their first three of the game from Sean Bryan. The Ephs led 17-14 with 10:20 left in the first half.
The Ephs started to feed the ball down low to junior Matt Karpowicz, who found the net several times, once off of a spin move in the post and another off of a pass by junior Mickey Babek. After Karpowicz baskets from the paint, the Ephs were able to free up space behind the arc, and James Heskett found senior Kyle Scadlock in the corner for a three. The Ephs continued their run with solid interior team defense.
The Vikings were eager to cut into the Eph's lead. They started to heat up from behind the arc with both Sean Bryan and Evan Mason finding the net for a three-pointer apiece. The buckets cut the Ephs lead to 3 at 26-23. The Ephs called a timeout to regroup, but after the timeout, the Vikings tied the game up after Sean Bryan hit his third three of the game. However, the Ephs were quick to counter with Bobby Casey's fourth straight three-pointer of the half.
The Vikings decided to add some pressure to the Ephs and put on a full court press. The Ephs were able to break the press but were unable to finish some looks around the hoop. The Vikings continued to get to the hoop and eventually tied the game up with 2:06 left in the half. After an Ephs turnover, The Vikings were able to get ahead of the Ephs after a bucket from Tyriek McCauley. Sean Bryan added to the lead to put the Vikings up 40-36. Kyle Scadlock would have the final basket of the half to cut the Viking lead to 2.
At the end of the half, the Vikings led 40-38. Bobby Casey led the Ephs in points with 12, hitting all four three-pointers he attempted in the half. The Ephs shot 44.8% from the field and 38.9% from behind the arc. Sean Bryan led the Vikings in points with 17. The Vikings were shooting 46.9% from the field and 38.5% from behind the arc.
The second half started with each team trading baskets, and the Vikings maintaining their lead. Three minutes in, the Ephs tied up the score off of two free throws from Kyle Scadlock. Sean Bryan drove to the bucket on a fast break to give the Vikings a two-point advantage, but James Heskett sunk a corner three to put the Ephs up by one.
The Vikings continued to attack the basket and were able to recover the lead. The two teams continued to go back and forth until Bobby Casey found Matt Karpowicz for the and-1. The bucket caused an eruption of Eph energy that resulted in an 8-point run, which put the Ephs up 62-53 with 13:40 left in the game.
The Ephs continued to build on their lead by keeping the Vikings off the scoreboard for almost four minutes. While holding the Vikings scoreless, the Ephs continued to make shots from the field and the stripe. The Ephs built a 74-58 lead over the Vikings with 9:17 left on the clock. The Vikings called a timeout to regroup.
Out of the timeout, the Vikings came out in a full court press. The Ephs were able to maintain composure and bring the ball up the court. The added pressure seemed to ease both teams into a groove as both sides were able to find their rhythm after the timeout. The Vikings would eventually cut the 16-point lead to an 11-point led with 3:28 left in the game off of a three from Evan Mason. After the three-pointer, Salem State would call a timeout.
After the timeout, the Ephs were able to hold off the Vikings and secure a 91-79 victory for the Ephs. At the end of the game, Kyle Scadlock led the Ephs in scoring with 26 points, James Heskett would lead the Ephs in assists. Bobby Casey finished the game with a double-double with 22 points and ten rebounds. For the Vikings, Sean Bryan finished the game with the team high in points (30), assists (5) and rebounds (7)
"I think we have depth. We have guys that didn't play tonight that have been playing great in practice. Each year is exciting because we see players stepping up into different roles. It was good to see Marc Taylor out there defending and making plays, Henry stepping up and taking the challenge to guard somebody. Spencer was getting out there and shooting shots with confidence. Hopefully, we keep playing well and see a couple of new faces this season."
The Ephs will play in the championship game of the Tip-off Tournament Sunday, Nov 18th at 3 p.m.