Free-throw shooting down the stretch helped men’s basketball (14-8, 4-4 in the NESCAC) secure a 70-67 victory against Conn. College on Sunday after a close 66-63 loss iagainst Wesleyan on Friday. Swingman Daniel Aronowitz ’17 stole the show in the second half, netting 25 of his 27 points in the final 20 minutes to help mount a comeback for his team after the Ephs trailed the Camels by eight at the half.
“I was incredibly proud of the team for their effort and toughness on the road this past weekend,” Head Coach Kevin App said. “To bounce back Sunday [after Friday’s game], and make winning plays offensively and defensively down the stretch against Conn. College showed me how much the team has grown throughout the season.”
With a top-four seed out of reach for both teams, the Ephs and the Camels were playing to gain momentum heading into the final weekend of NESCAC regular season play.
Playing on their home court for the final time this season, the Camels surged ahead in the first half. The Ephs struggled to secure shots in the first half, largely due to the Camels’ smothering defense. Since the Williams offense heavily relies on outside shooting, the men could only put 22 points on the board in the first half.
The Camels shot a mediocre 11-31 (35.5%) from the field but made four of 10 three-point attempts in addition to a perfect 4-4 from the free-throw line in the first half. The Ephs, by comparison, shot 8-24 (33.3%) from the field and made only four of eight free-throw attempts. No player on either team notched more than five points in the half.
The men opened up the second half on a 5-0 run to cut the deficit to 33-30, but the Camels responded with a 6-0 run to take a nine-point lead. Both teams improved their shooting percentages, especially from the long range, throughout the second half.
Aronowitz made a layup with 7:51 left in the game to pull the Ephs within two of the Camels, 55-53. However, the Camels responded with a 5-0 run to extend their lead back to seven points. In response, Aronowitz drilled a three with 5:22 remaining to bring the score to 60-59 with the Camels still leading.
Minutes later, Cole Teal ’18 made two free throws with 47 seconds remaining in the contest to give the men a 68-67 lead – the Ephs’ first lead of the second half. The Camels’ Isaiah Robinson missed the potential game winning shot with 8.0 seconds left, and Aronowitz secured the rebound, guaranteeing the Ephs their win with a final score of 70-67.
Aronowitz led the Ephs with 27 points and nine rebounds. James Heskett ’19 scored 14 points on 4-8 shooting from three-point range. Bobby Casey ’19 chipped in a complete performance, scoring 12 points and pulling down three rebounds.
On Friday, the men lost to Wesleyan in the last few seconds of the game when Wesleyan’s BJ Davis made the game-winning shot, just like he did in Williams contest against the Wesleyan on Dec. 5.
“Obviously we would have loved to go 2-0 this weekend, but we played two tough road games and had a chance to come away with a sweep, which is all we can ask for,” co-captain Luke Thoreson ’16 said. “It’s never easy to win on the road and we’re happy about how we’re playing going into the final weekend of NESCAC play.”
On Feb. 1, the men won against Maine-Fort Kent 67-63 and lost to rival Amherst 71-50 on Jan. 27.
The men next compete against Tufts on Feb. 12 at 7:00 p.m. in Chandler Gym.