CLINTON, N.Y. -- The Williams College Ephs (6-6/0-1 NESCAC) narrowly fell to the Hamilton College Continentals (11-2/1-0 NESCAC) 79-78 on Friday evening. Hamilton guards Kena Gilmour and Eric Anderson sunk free throws in the final minute to complete a 16 point comeback for the Continentals over the last 11:14 of the contest.
"I'm really proud of the guys," Eph head coach Kevin App commented after the game. "I thought that was the team we want to see night in and night out. Unfortunately we keep coming up a little short for different reasons, but im really proud of our effort and different guys stepping up. Credit to Hamilton, they made a couple really great plays down the stretch."
The Ephs' momentum began when Cole Prowitt-Smith checked in 3:04 into the game for the Ephs, who were down 5-4, and proceeded to hit three-pointers on his first two offensive possessions. Alex Stoddard scored on consecutive possessions to give the Ephs a 24-13 advantage, their first double-digit lead of the game with 8:59 remaining in the half. The Ephs turned this spark into a 13-4 run, taking a nine point lead when Stoddard found the basket from long range. Williams surrendered just four offensive points over a span of 6:40, with Kena Gilmour ending the lapse with two free throws.
The Ephs held an 18-11 lead with 10:09 to play in the first. Matt Karpowicz, Spencer Spivy, and Henry Feinberg got in on the scoring action over the last nine minutes to hand the Ephs a 35-23 lead at the break
Prowitt-Smith had a game high ten points while shooting 4-5 from the field, while Gilmour had eight for the Continentals on 2-8 shooting.
Jovan Jones got the Ephs on the board under a minute into the second period, but then picked up his fourth foul with 17:14 to play, and consequently was on the bench for much of the second half.
The Eph lead reached 15 points multiple times during the early part of the half, but Hamilton cut the lead eight, much in part to the playmaking of Anderson. Henry Feinberg responded with a reverse layup while getting fouled. His free throw was off the mark, but Nate Karren kicked the offensive rebound out to Stoddard, who nailed his second three-pointer of the night to put Williams up 52-39 with 13 minutes left.
The teams exchanged several baskets, but Prowitt-Smith scored five points in 23 seconds to lift the Ephs to a 59-43 edge, their largest of the evening.
Gilmour's three-point-play with 9:35 to go made the score 62-51. Prowitt-Smith would proceed to find Karpowicz with a no-look pass to bring the Eph lead back to 13.
Hamilton began to hit some three-pointers, and brought the Williams advantage to just five with 6:42 to go. The Ephs scored five straight points to go ahead 71-61 after a Mickey Babek trey, and still held an eight point lead with 2:50 remaining.
Hamilton would then score ten unanswered points to take a 75-73 lead with 35 seconds remaining. Anderson's three gave them the lead; Gilmour had five points in the run.
Prowitt-Smith converted an and-one with ten seconds to play to make it a one point game. After two free throws from Gilmore and a five second violation from Hamilton, the Ephs had the ball down three. Prowitt-Smith was intentionally fouled, and buried both tries from the charity stripe. The Ephs fouled again and Gilmour missed both attempts with 4.8 seconds left, but the Ephs were unable to sink a last second shot.
"We led for 37 or 38 minutes tonight," App said. "You just have to buckle down and make sure defensively and offensively you're doing it for the full 40. Our effort, our depth — everything was at a high level tonight on the road against a talented team. Even though the results keep being not what we want, hopefully the guys get increasingly confident and comfortable in those situations.
Gilmour scored 20 points in the second half to finish with 28. Anderson added 12. The Continentals were 6-12 from downtown in the second half.
Prowitt-Smith finished with 25 points on 9-13 shooting, including 4-5 from beyond the arc. Spivy, Karpowicz, and Stoddard also reached double-figures for the Ephs, scoring 14, 12, and 10, respectively.
Williams returns to action tomorrow afternoon at Amherst at 3 p.m.
"We take it a day at a time and see what we can improve on, so we'll put this one behind us, hop back on the bus tomorrow morning, compete again, and try to play "Williams Basketball" for 40 full minutes. I think our guys know they can compete with anybody if we play our game, we just have to keep growing and building our confidence."