Second half explosion leads Amherst past Ephs

Coming into this week’s action, the Ephs were 8-0, winning mostly by large margins. Williams was hoping to continue its winning record into this weekend’s games against Massachussetts College of Liberal Arts and archrival Amherst in its first NESCAC game of the season. Unfortunately, it was unable to keep its winning ways, narrowly defeating MCLA 92-81 and losing to the Lord Jeffs 90-67.

The Lord Jeffs of Amherst (8-3) put the first blemish on what had been a perfect season for the Ephs. Despite poor shooting in the first half, Williams was down only 35-32 after a three pointer at the buzzer. Williams battled closely with the Lord Jeffs for the first few minutes of the second half, but was unable to keep up with Amherst, especially during the last ten minutes of the half, as the Jeffs repeatedly broke the Williams press.

Leading the way for the Lord Jeffs was Pat Mulvey with 22 points. Mike Holland ’99 of Williams led all scorers with 23, however, while Jim Frew ’99 poured in 16 on six for twelve shooting. As a team, the Ephs shot 26-70 from the field, and only 12-21 from the free throw line. Amherst shot 18-30 in the second half, and 15-17 from the line. Mike Holland had 11 rebounds for the Ephs, while Chris Smith and Charles Field each grabbed seven to lead the Jeffs. Frew dished out four assists for Williams; he now needs only five more to set a new Williams record.

Earlier in the week, Williams received a scare from neighboring MCLA, but in the end were able to stave off the MCLA comeback, winning 92-81. In an offensive showcase of two incredible shooters, the Williams College men’s basketball team led most of the way and held on late in the second half to beat neighboring MCLA. The story of the game was the scoring exhibition put on by Frew and MCLA’s Josh Thielen. Frew led the Ephs with 31 points and Thielen paced the Mohawks with a game-high 39 points, 30 of which were scored in the second half. Frew added seven assists and five steals, while Thielen grabbed five rebounds.

The first half saw Williams jump out to a quick six point lead before MCLA battled back to take the lead by one with about 10 minutes left. However, the Mohawks were never to lead again on that night. A Frew trey with six minutes remaining pushed the Ephs’ lead to 11 and Matt Hunt nailed a three to push Williams’ lead to 46-28 at the half.

Williams continued its strong play into the second half, increasing its lead to 26 at one point. Frew and Thielen went back and forth for the first 10 minutes of the period, trading long range buckets each trip down the floor. Mass. College, faced with a 22 point deficit with nine minutes left, never gave up hope of the upset and battled their way back to within eight with under a minute remaining. That would be as close as it would get, though, and Williams made their free throws to win 92-81.

All of the Williams starters finished in double figures. Holland led the Ephs with nine rebounds and contributed 15 points. Dan Dickens ’01 pulled down eight boards and chipped in 13 points, including three second half tip-ins. Matt Hunt ’99 finished with 14 points while Jim Sheehy ’99 had 11 points and eight assists.

Williams hopes to rebound from the Amherst loss when it plays at Middlebury this week.