In the final regular season game played in Chandler Gym for the senior Ephmen, the men’s basketball team played a fine game to defeat a large, physical Hamilton squad, 88-83.
Williams, which finishes their schedule with a 17-6 record, moves on to play in the ECAC Tournament. They will host Colby-Sawyer College at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday.
The first half of the Hamilton game saw two teams which knew what was at stake in the final NESCAC conference game of their seasons. Hamilton, which was virtually assured of an NCAA bid due to their placement in a weaker selection region than the Northeast, needed the win to ensure a home game in the tourney. The Ephs were simply playing for a chance at a bid.
Both teams came out firing, hitting shots each time down the floor. The lead went back and forth in the first five minutes as neither team missed from the field. At the 13:06 mark of the first half, Mike Holland ’99 laid in pass from Jim Frew ’99 to tie up the game at 13. After this basket, Williams never trailed again. Andrew Conley ’01 picked up a steal on the Continentals’ next possession and passed the ball ahead to Frew who drove for a lay-up, giving the Ephs a 15-13 lead.
Frew’s score sparked a decisive 14-3 Eph run from which Hamilton could never recover. Though the Conts heated up from three point range, the inside play of Holland, Sean Keenan ’00 and Dan Dickens ’01 secured a 46-39 lead for Williams entering halftime. Dickens, a traditional post player, played extremely well off of the bench, scoring a team-high 11 first half points with his accurate touch from the outside.
In the second half, Hamilton decided it was time to unleash their biggest weapon on the Ephmen in the form of national player of the year candidate Mike Schantz. Schantz, who was averaging 26.3 points per game coming into the contest, was limited to six in the first period due to his three personal fouls. Schantz, however, was determined to keep to his scoring average in the second as he took the ball to the hoop practically every possession down the floor. As the game wore on, the Ephs were forced to foul him nearly every time he held the ball underneath. At the foul line, Schantz made the Williams defenders pay for their fouls, sinking 11 of his 12 tries from the foul stripe.
Luckily the Ephs didn’t collapse on offense, as Holland, Keenan and Dickens continued to shine. The team held a six to eight point lead most of the half as Hamilton forced the ball to Schantz. About halfway through the second period Holland threw down a mighty slam dunk off of a feed from Dickens to ignite the crowd. The Continentals finally whittled the Williams lead to three in the final few minutes, but the Hamilton team couldn’t make the big shots that they had to as the Ephs sank their free throws to guarantee the win. Frew hit four in a row in the last minute to ice the game.
Holland notched 12 points in the second to finish the game with a team-high 20. Holland had yet another double-double as he also yanked down 11 boards. Dickens contributed 17 points and Keenan threw in 15. Frew and Matt Hunt ’99 each had 10 points. Frew also hauled in nine boards, grabbed four steals and dished out five assists.
Schantz ended the game with 27 points on 8 of 14 shooting. He also pulled down seven rebounds. Hamilton’s Max Stroman finished 4 of 8 from three point land for 17 points. Guard Lamar Johnson had 11 with four assists for the Continentals, who dropped to 14-10 on the year with the loss.
In the four years that seniors Frew, Hunt, Holland and Aaron Dupuis have been on the team, the Ephs have compiled a 94-16 record including two berths in the NCAA Final Four.