SALEM, MA — The Williams College Ephs (4-4) fell narrowly in their return to action on Sunday afternoon, as the Endicott Gulls (8-3) won 88-85 to open the Salem State Holiday Tournament. The Gulls went 6-6 from the free throw line in the final 25 seconds.
Spencer Spivy hit his second trey of the game to put the Ephs ahead 14-9 five minutes into the contest. After the Ephs built a 20-14 lead, the Gulls tied the game at 20 with 8:45 to play in the half, prompting a Williams timeout.
The teams exchanged a series of layups and three-pointers to close out the first period, and the Ephs held a 38-33 lead at the break. Karpowicz led all scorers with 10 points on 4-5 shooting.
The Gulls pulled within two to open the half, but Spivy hit another shot from downtown to bring the Williams edge to five.
Prowitt-Smith threw down a two-handed slam and converted the free throw with 15:10 to play. HIs old fashioned three-point play regained a seven point advantage for Williams.
A Henry Feinberg and-one opened up a nine point lead for the Ephs, their largest of the game. The Gulls would respond with a 9-0 run in just 1:03 of gameplay thanks to two three-pointers from Keith Brown and one from Jalen Echevarria. App took a timeout with 11:29 to play and score knotted at 55.
Jovan Jones found Karpowicz down low for two, but Echevarria hit another trey to give the Gulls their first lead of the game at 58-57 with 10:04 left.
The Ephs converted from both outside and inside, but Matt McDevitt scored five straight points for the Gulls to stay level. Mickey Babek put the Ephs up 70-68 with his tenth point, but McDevitt scored another three to put the Gulls up 71-10 with 4:31 left.
Spivy checked back into the game with 3:55 to go after a five minute rest due to picking up his fourth foul with 9:10 left. He made an immediate impact, knocking down a three from the corner on his first offensive possession.
McDevitt sunk his sixth three-pointer of the day with 2:01 left to put the Gulls up 82-77, their largest edge of the day. Prowitt-Smith answered back with a three out of an Ephs timeout.
The Gulls maintained that two point lead, and hit all six of their free throws at the end to close out the victory. Prowitt-Smith scored from downtown with eight seconds left, but his last second attempt with the Ephs down three missed the mark.
Eph head coach Kevin App said, "After three weeks, it's nice to get out there and compete, and I thought that's exactly what the guys did. We played another good team that can score the basketball. I thought we did a great job in the first half. In the second half, we had a couple stretches where we let a couple of their guys get some shots. Another game that came down to one or two plays at the end. I'm proud of them for putting us in position to win against a really good team, and I'm excited to keep growing together."
Prowitt-Smith finished with a career high 28 points on 11-20 from the field, while hitting three shots from behind the arc. Karpowicz had a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Said App, "Cole keeps improving every game. He's obviously talented, and he's earned the trust to make plays. It was good to see him get out there and do it. He's learning more and more every game — as we all are. I'm proud of his effort and I know he's excited to keep building on it."
The Ephs were 7-9 from the free throw line, while the Gulls hit 19 of 21. Overall, the Ephs shot 48% from the field, as the Gulls converted at a 43% clip.
"They're one of the top offenses in the country right now," App said of Endicott. "They play with a lot of confidence and they play together. Their three main scorers got hot in the second half, so you have to give them credit. We matched it, and once again the game came down to the last couple plays.
Williams is back on the court tomorrow against Salem State at 6 p.m.
"This was another learning process of playing back to backs. We play in this tournament to get ready for NESCAC play, so I'm excited to see the growth and maturity in this group to bounce back from being disappointed right now and playing better tomorrow," stated App.