No Nogelo. No problem. In the Williams College basketball team’s first official games without departed NABC Player of the year Michael Nogelo, the Ephs won the Berkshire Classic by defeating Clark University 74-57. Replacing Nogelo’s 22.6 points per game will not be easy, but in the tournament victories over Clark in the final and Castleton State in the season opener, this year’s team showed that it is more than up to the task.
In the championship match-up, played at MCLA on Saturday, a pesky Clark side gave Williams a run late into the second half. Clark was leading by 10 points with only six and a half minutes showing on the clock, until they finally collapsed and the Ephs took over.
Williams went on an overwhelming scoring run led by senior co-captains Matt Hunt and Jim Frew, and coasted to the 17 point victory. Hunt, a 6’5” small forward, finished with 23 points and earned tournament MVP honors.
Frew, a 6’3” guard, also came up big down the stretch, chipping in 15 points and totaling seven assists, six rebounds and four steals. Frew was named to the all-tournament team.
Forward Manny Benjamin ’01 added 11 points to go along with his four rebounds, and senior forward/center Mike Holland tossed 10 points and pulled down a team high 11 boards.
In the men’s first game of the year against Castleton State, the Ephs completely dominated play and rolled by the comfortable margin of 81-45. From the tip, the Ephs controlled the game, and quickly jumped to a 20-2 lead. Hunt, Holland and guard Jim Sheehy ’00 all had 11 points, and Frew contributed 10.
The Williams defense was the key on Friday night, though. The Ephs forced Castleton into making 29 turnovers, and the Ephs notched six blocks and 13 steals.
The opening tournament championship should give the Ephs confidence going into the rest of their non-conference season.
Coming into the year, with a strong national reputation built off of two consecutive trips the NCAA Final Four, Williams ranks #10 in Columbus Multimedia’s preseason Division Three poll. Regional rivals Connecticut College and Springfield are also in the top 20.
The Ephs next play RPI on December 1 at 8:00 in Chandler Gym.
Over the weekend of the 4th and 5th of December, the team hosts the Williams Invitational featuring Babson, Colby-Sawyer and Lasell.