Men’s basketball jumpstarts season with 6 victories

With six wins in their first six games, men’s basketball (6-0) is starting the season on solid footing. Williams soared to an 87-38 victory over Southern Vermont (1-4) on Saturday following a 60-56 comeback win over Framingham State (3-3) last Tuesday. Co-captain Chris Rose ’08 was honored on Tuesday for recently reaching the 1000-point mark in his Williams basketball career.

The Williams offense was on fire on Saturday, and the Ephs surged ahead from the start. Within the first 10 minutes, a series of shots from behind the arc followed by a Blake Schultz ’10 lay up gave the Ephs an early 10-point lead. The Ephs continued to increase their lead on the Mountaineers and after shooting 49 percent in the first half, Williams broke for halftime with a 44-23 lead.

Williams continued to keep the ball moving in the second half. Co-captain Chris Shalvoy ’08 got everyone involved in the game as he shot only once for three points, but led the team with eight assists. A complete range of players pushed Williams to the final 87 points. Rose, who had been struggling with his shot from downtown, led the team on Saturday with 18 points from six three-pointers. Kevin Snyder ’09 and Joe Geoghegan ’10 brought in 15 points each and Tommas Golia ’09 scored nine. There wasn’t a single star, but there was a solid team.

“I liked the ball movement and the unselfishness of the players,” said Head Coach Dave Paulsen. “They were passing up a good shot to give someone else a great shot.”

The Ephs totaled 52 percent from the field using a variety of players. “Our biggest strength is, for the most part, every player on the floor is somebody who can score,” Shalvoy said.

As the outcome of the game was quickly determined, Williams had a chance to deemphasize its starters. Several players from the bench including Matt Weisbrot ’08 and Grant Meyer ’09 made an impact, adding two points and six rebounds and four points and five rebounds, respectively. Harlan Dodson ’11 and William Hardy ’10 also made significant contributions.

“We were able to get a lot of guys some quality game experience,” Shalvoy said, “and we saw a lot of good things from quite a few players.”

The Mountaineers, who shot a measly 26 percent from the floor, posed little challenge to the Ephs’ defense. The Mountaineers’ passing was out of control as they relied on sending the ball to Nick Harrington and Emory Wheeler, who took almost every shot. Meanwhile, Schultz claimed seven rebounds, including five on defense, and Geoghegan pulled down 10 rebounds, including nine on defense, for his second consecutive double-double. “I think we made some progress defensively this week,” Paulsen said.

Although Williams waltzed past Southern Vermont, Framingham State posed a challenge earlier in the week. The Rams bested the Ephs last year and dominated in the first half on Tuesday. The Ephs went into halftime down 26-16.

But Williams returned for the second half with new drive. In the opening minutes, the team scored 22 points to its opponent’s nine. Williams kept up the momentum to take the game 60-56. After shooting just 21 percent in the first half, the team improved to 52 percent in the second for a 36 percent total for the day.

Rose and Geoghegan were the leading scorers, each with 13 points. Geoghegan also pulled down 15 rebounds. Shalvoy brought in 12 points, Snyder had 10 and Schultz seven. The five starters all contributed at least 30 minutes to give the Ephs the edge over the Rams.

Although Rose hit the 1000-point mark in his Williams career during a game at Wesleyan earlier in the season, he was officially honored by the Ephs on Tuesday. Rose became the 24th Eph to join the club. After the last few games, his point total sits at 1043.

Early in the season, Williams claimed victories over Ursinus and Drew at the Rose City Classic Championship as well as wins over Wesleyan and RPI in away games. Now the team is looking ahead to a third consecutive home game. In the final game before the winter break, Williams will host Springfield on Saturday at 3 p.m.

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