Last weekend, men’s basketball (11-5, 2-2 in the NESCAC) split its conference game weekend, knocking off Colby on Saturday by a score of 72-65 after falling to fellow Maine rival Bowdoin 67-60 in a hard-fought game last Friday.
On Saturday, the Ephs faced off against the formidable Mules in an important NESCAC matchup. For much of the first half the score was even, with both teams responding to early baskets, and the score tied 8-8 within the first five minutes of play. Baskets from Cole Teal ’18 and Chris Galvin ’18 put the Ephs up five about halfway through the first half, but the Mules fought back, erasing the five-point deficit and jumping ahead by two with three minutes left, putting the score at 29-27. Late baskets from both Teal and tri-captain Daniel Wohl ’15 helped the men level the score before half, but Colby took a two-point lead into the break with a basket ringing through the net with 30 seconds remaining. The score at half was 33-31 Colby.
For much of the second half it was the same story, with the teams going back and forth on offense, leveling the score at 53 with seven minutes remaining in the game. At that point, the Ephs turned up their level of play, with key baskets coming from Galvin, Wohl and Darrias Sime ’16 to put them up two points with four minutes remaining. Six clutch baskets down the stretch from Wohl helped secure the Ephs a huge 72-65 conference victory. Wohl led all Ephs with 19 points, six assists and eight rebounds.
Last Friday, the men dropped a heartbreaker to fellow NESCAC opponent Bowdoin in Brunswick, Maine, 67-60. The first half started off on the wrong foot for the men, as they went down 24-10 just 10 minutes into the half. Baskets from Wohl, Daniel Aronowitz ’17 and tri-captain Ryan Kilcullen ’15 attempted to pull the Ephs close at the half, but the Polar Bears’ relentless offensive play created a 17-point lead at the break.
The Ephs came out of locker room with some fire in the second half, pulling within eight points with five minutes left in the game as Wohl, Aronowitz and Kilcullen led the charge on offense. A huge three-point shot from Kilcullen pulled the Ephs within three with 48 seconds remaining, but a steal off of an inbound pass for the Polar Bears put them up six, a lead they would not relinquish. The men put up a good fight for the last 30 seconds, but fell to their conference opponent 67-60. Aronowitz led all the men with 22 points, while Teal had four assists and Wohl had seven rebounds.
“Through two weekends of league play, we continue to work to build offensive chemistry and to emphasize maximum effort every possession” said tri-captain Hayden Rooke-Ley ’15.
On Jan. 10, the men faced off against archival Amherst. In an unbelievable turn of events, the Ephs topped the Jeffs, as Kilcullen sunk a three-pointer with four seconds remaining to stun their NESCAC rival. Wohl carried the Ephs, scoring 28 points and nine rebounds, while point guard Mike Greenman ’17 had six assists.
A day earlier on Jan. 9, the men dropped a heartbreaker to another conference rival Trinity in double overtime 71-69. Late trouble at the free throw line doomed the Ephs, as they missed seven of their last nine free throws. The Bantams capitalized late, hitting late free throws to seal the victory. Wohl had a career game, scoring 32 points and snagging 14 rebounds.
On Jan. 3, the men upended Endicott by a score of 79-76. Late baskets from Greenman and Wohl helped carry the Ephs to the victory, with Wohl scoring 24 and Greenman dealing out five assists.
At the Salem State Classic, the men secured a victory on Dec. 30, defeating Salem State 84-77 after having fallen to WPI in a close game 73-71 on Dec. 29.
Prior to the loss to WPI, the men had won seven games in a row dating back to Nov. 20, with victories over Springfield, RPI, Union, Skidmore, MCLA, Wesleyan and Johnson State.
For much of the beginning of the season, the Ephs led the NCAA Div. III in free throw percentage, after Rooke-Ley hit 67 in a row, snapping a Div. III record. Wohl also became the 32nd Eph in program history to net 1000 points in his career.
The men travel to face off against archival Amherst today at 7 p.m. and face another conference rival Hamilton away on Saturday at 3 p.m.