Last weekend, men’s basketball (12-6, 3-4 in the NESCAC) split a pair of conference contests, falling to Middlebury in a close 75-69 battle on Sunday and prevailing over Hamilton at home 73-63 on Saturday.
To start off the Ephs’ match against the Panthers in Vermont, center tri-captain Ed Flynn ’16 picked up two early fouls and exited the game for the remainder of the first half with 17:34 left on the clock. In his absence, Head Coach Kevin App offered plenty of playing time to three up-and-coming first-year players: Marcos Soto ’19, Michael Kempton ’19 and Jake Porath ’19. Unfortunately, the trio added only three points to the board in the half while Middlebury forward Matt Daley alone scored nine. Soto and Kempton also each picked up two fouls in the half. A huge half, though, from Kyle Scadlock ’19 allowed the Ephs to overcome their early foul trouble, with the first-year scoring 14 points on 5-7 shooting. Overall, the Ephs shot 6-9 (66.7%) from three-point range on their way to a 41-36 halftime lead.
The beginning of the second half mirrored that of the first as Flynn picked up two quick fouls and was forced to exit the game. Strong plays from Daniel Aronowitz ’17 helped the Ephs maintain the lead for the first ten minutes of the half before the Panthers went on a 14-0 run to take a 54-49 lead with 8:55 remaining.
The Ephs, however, refused to give up and eventually retook the lead on an Aronowitz three with 6:31 left to bring the score to 58-57. For the next few minutes, Cole Teal ’18 and Middlebury’s Matt St. Amour engaged in a three-point shootout. Middlebury ultimately emerged victorious with a final score of 75-69. Two careless turnovers in the final minutes doomed the Ephs as the Panthers converted at the free throw line on the other end. Despite a monstrous first half, Middlebury held Scadlock to only two second-half points. Aronowitz led his team in scoring with 20 points.
“The Middlebury game was a tough loss. We played our hearts out, but we fell just a little short. We’ll learn from this loss and get ready for Amherst,” said Flynn.
The day prior, Williams secured a thrilling conference victory against Hamilton with a final score of 73-63. The Ephs got off to a very sloppy start, committing several careless turnovers early to allow the Continentals a 7-0 run to begin the game. The Ephs did not make their first field goal until Chris Galvin ’18 got to Aronowitz on a backdoor cut with 14:30 left in the first half. Hamilton would maintain a single-digit lead for the majority of the second half. Aronowitz helped keep Williams in the game with his consistent attacking of the basket before Teal gave his team a 52-51 lead on a three from the top of the key with 6:03 to go. The Continentals got no closer as the Ephs closed out the final minutes, taking the win with a final score of 73-63.
For the game against Hamilton, the Ephs brought in a three-game winning streak, punctuated by important victories over Maine conference foes Colby and Bowdoin and a win against Johnson State. Against Bowdoin, Williams secured its 76-65 win with strong play from Aronowitz, earning 19 total points in the game. The Ephs’ 75-66 win over the Colby Mules featured five assists from Galvin, and the team’s 79-52 victory against Johnson State saw Scadlock notch two steals.
On Jan. 10, the Ephs capped off an unsuccessful conference road swing with a loss to Trinity 76-75 on a late basket. The match followed a tough loss against archrival Amherst that ended 78-66.
Previous games for the men’s team included an 81-55 win against Castleton on Jan. 3, a close 65-57 loss against Catholic on Dec. 30 and a 77-64 victory over Ursinus on Dec. 29, all non-conference games.
Tonight, the Ephs face conference rival Amherst on their home court at 7 p.m. before a non-conference tilt Sunday at Maine-Fort Kent at 2 p.m.