Men’s hoops close league slate with victory

February 17, 2016 by Eric Hirsch

Aided by 14 three-pointers, men’s basketball (15-9, 5-5 NESCAC) closed out its league schedule with a win over Bates by a final score of 84-64, rebounding from a heartbreaking 77-73 loss to Tufts on Friday.

Entering the final regular season contest of the 2015-16 season, the Ephs had already solidified their spot as the sixth seed in the upcoming NESCAC tournament.

On senior day, the men jumped out to an early 19-5 lead just nine minutes into the game. The Ephs moved the ball well and found cutters for easy layups. Later in the half, when the Bobcats tried to jam the passing lanes, the team showed its ability to do damage from behind the three-point arc. The Ephs went 6-12 from three, including two from co-captain Luke Thoreson ’16.

Bates forward Marcus Delpeche threw down two-handed slams on consecutive possessions to pull the Bobcats to within 10 at 30-20. The Ephs would respond with a 5-0 run to take a 38-25 at halftime.

The Ephs’ defense was out in full force for the final regular season game, holding the opponents to a mediocre 10-32 (31.3%) from the field and 2-12 (16.7%) from three.

Cole Teal ’18 hit a three on the first possession of the second half to extend Williams’ lead to 41-25. With 15:01 left, Bobby Casey ’19 hit another trey to put the Ephs up 52-32, putting the game out of reach.

Thoreson, Casey and Daniel Aronowitz ’17 combined to make 10 threes. Aronowitz led Williams with 21 points and seven rebounds. As a team, the Ephs shot a red-hot 29-54 (53.7%) from the field and 14-22 (63.6%) from three.

In the penultimate NESCAC regular season matchup, Williams fell to Tufts by a final score of 77-73.

After a tightly contested first half, Tufts entered the locker room with a 36-35 lead. The Ephs led for the majority of the half, but Stephen Haladyna gave the lead back to the Jumbos on a three-point play with 3:52 remaining in the half.

The Ephs owned the boards, out-rebounding the Jumbos 24-16, but the Jumbos had only three turnovers to nine for the Ephs. Haladyna scored 13 points on 5-10 shooting. For the Ephs, Teal nailed his first three attempts from behind the arc but did not attempt another shot for the remainder of the half.

Tufts went on a 9-0 run to take a 49-40 lead with 13:33 left. Drew Madsen capped off the run with an emphatic put-back dunk. Aronowitz broke the run with a three from the left corner. Teal hit a mid-range jumper to pull Williams to within 4 at 56-52. After a defensive stop, Aronowitz finished with his left hand to make it a two-point deficit with 10:24 remaining. However, Tufts responded with consecutive buckets to extend their lead back to six.

The Ephs fought hard on both offense and defense but struggled to put together a run. Aronowitz was able to cut it to 69-65 on a tough shot in the lane with 2:55 to go.

After the men could not secure the rebound on a missed free throw by Vincent Pace,  guard Ben Engvall hit a crucial three from the left wing with 2:22 left to put the Jumbos up 72-65. The Ephs wouldn’t go away as Teal drilled his fourth three of the game to make it 72-68 with 1:03 left.

With just five seconds left on the shot clock, Teal made a deep three to pull Williams within one. Kyle Scadlock ’19 fouled Haladyna, who made two free throws to put Tufts up 76-73. Aronowitz found James Heskett ’19 in the corner for a potential game tying three, but his shot bounced off the rim and Pace secured the re-bound and, with it, the win for the Jumbos.

“We had a weekend of ups and downs, losing our first game to Tufts, but bouncing back and finsihing the regular season with a win against Bates. On Sunday, it was senior day, which was great. It was really enjoyable for the three seniors to play our last game in Chandler. Bittersweet, obviously, but a true joy to play. And we had a great total team effort,” Thoreson said.

Williams next plays on Saturday at Tufts in the first round of the NESCAC tournament at 4 p.m.

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