Men’s basketball secures Little Three Championship with road win over Wesleyan


Evan Glatzer ’25 shoots a free throw. (Photo courtesy of Sports Information.)

Jacob Fink

Just under one year ago, the men’s basketball team (19-3, 6-3 NESCAC) departed Middletown, Conn., following an overtime loss to Wesleyan in the NESCAC championship game. Almost a year later, it defeated the Cardinals (14-8, 5-3 NES-CAC) 80-62 in commanding fashion on the road. The game was even for the first 15 minutes of action, but Williams closed the half on a 10-0 run over the final 2:32 to take a nine-point lead into the locker room.

The Ephs would then start the second period on a 7-0 run to open up a 16-point cushion, and they maintained a double-digit advantage for almost the entirety of the remaining minutes. With the victory against Wesleyan on Saturday and the 66-65 win over Amherst on Jan. 18, the Ephs claimed an outright Little Three Championship, coming on the heels of a 94-79 win over Trinity on Saturday.

“It feels great,” Head Coach Kevin App said, reflecting on the 2-0 weekend. “Anytime you get a sweep in this league it’s a big deal, and to do it on the road against two well-coached teams —I’m super proud of the guys.”

“To be the Little Three outright winner for the second time in three seasons — after going a decade not winning— feels great. It’s one of our goals every year, and we came out and competed to get it done today,” App continued. 

The Ephs trailed by as many as eight points in the beginning of the game, but they used a combination of toughness inside and perimeter shooting to get their offense into gear. As usual, consistent defense was critical in denying Wesleyan the ability to crawl back into the game once a lead had been established. A notable difference in the stat sheet came in 3-point shooting: the Ephs went 9-18 from deep, while Wesleyan shot 4-25. Additionally, the Ephs made 15-19 attempts from the free throw line, while the Cardinals hit 4-6 tries.

Nate Karren ’23.5 posted up his defender for the first basket of the afternoon, but Wesleyan scored the next nine points. A crucial block from Spencer Spivy ’22.5 halted the Cardinals’ momentum, as he took his deflection coast-to-coast to make the score 9-4. 

Alex Lee ’26 then lobbed the ball inside to Karren, who went over his defender to trim the lead to three. After a Cardinals 3-pointer, Lee dropped his man to get inside for an open layup. Fellow first-year standout Hudson Hansen ’26 subsequently scored, and the Ephs found themselves down just 14-10.

“Alex and Hudson play with such infectious energy on both ends — they just fly around,” App said of the first-year combo. “It’s fun to watch their confidence grow. They’re both being rewarded, like the team, with production.”

With 10:48 to go in the half, Brandon Arnold ’23.5 checked into the game to mark his return to play. While he did not score in his first rotation, his talents were on display — the Ephs allowed just one basket on defense and he opened up spacing on the perimeter. Cole Prowitt-Smith ’24 sunk a fadeaway followed by a 3-pointer on the next possession to put the Ephs up 17-16 with 10:11 left in the half.

The Cardinals called a timeout to reset, but Evan Glatzer ’25 was quick to steal the ball on the first Cardinals’ possession back.

Solid playmaking from the Ephs saw a pass across the width of the court land in Prowitt-Smith’s hands, which he immediately tossed to Spivy for an open shot. Spivy buried it for a five-point Ephs’ edge. Wesleyan’s players would not relent, however, and a quick 8-0 run gave them a 24-21 lead with 8:08 remaining in the half. 

Karren’s hook shots earned the Ephs six points in a row, as he continued to resort to a move for which Wesleyan had no answers, and a triple from Karren gave the Ephs a 30-27 lead.

Lee then made a 3-pointer from the corner to begin a 10-0 run for the Ephs to close out the half. The possession following Lee’s make, Glatzer bodied his way into the paint with his offensive confidence on full display to give Williams a 35-31 lead with 1:44 to go in the period.

The Ephs forced a turn-over from Wesleyan on a pass out of bounds with 54 seconds left in the half as the Ephs attempted to go two for one. Prowitt-Smith drew contact on the first and went 1-2 from the line, and a quick stop gave the Ephs 24 seconds to get another basket. Prowitt-Smith stepped up to the task again, calmly drilling a 3-pointer from the top of the arc to put the Ephsup 40-31 at the break.

Karren led the Ephs with 13 points in the half on 6-8 shooting, while Prowitt-Smith netted 10 in the first 20 minutes.

Wesleyan double-teamed Karren when he received the ball on the first possession of the second half, to which he promptly passed to Declan Porter ’24.5, who cashed in his first make of the game from deep. Spivy went to work next, running through the defense for a layup as the intensity ramped up. On the following play, Karren took it to the hole to put Williams up 47-31 less than two minutes into the second half.

Wesleyan made a few baskets in the half to trim the deficit to 10, but a Glatzer fadeaway to beat the shot-clock buzzer made the score 51-39 with 14:11 left. 

As the Cardinals tried to save the ball from going out of bounds, Hansen intercepted the ball and regained possession for the Ephs. Lee Converted the recovery into points on the offensive end. The basket seemed to light a spark, as Prowitt-Smith hit a 3-pointer to increase the Williams lead to 13.

Prowitt-Smith then spun his defender around and dropped in two points for the Ephs. On the next chance, he passed to Karren, who drained his second 3-pointer of the day.

The Cardinals brought the deficit into single digits with under eight minutes remaining, but Spivy hit two from the charity stripe for a 63-52 Williams advantage. Prowitt-Smith then would draw a shooting foul with one second left on the shot clock to put the Ephs up 13 with 5:50 to go. A high-IQ play from Karren took advantage of a double team and found a wide-open Glatzer for a layup — Wesleyan fouled him on the shot, and his and-one made it 68-52 with five minutes to play. 

“When we’re playing with that confident and connected mindset, it looks like energy and toughness on defense and moving the basketball to get great shots on offense,” App said. “As coaches, we’re proud that we did both of those things for 80 minutes this weekend. Just like Trinity, Wesleyan has great players and made great shots. Our guys kept at it and found a run to put the game away.”

Another cut from Glatzer on the next possession positioned the Ephs in good standing to close out the game, but they needed to stay locked in, as Wesleyan had 3:47 to overcome a 14-point deficit. 

Spivy made things more difficult for the Cardinals, as he sunk a three to go up 17, and the Cardinals resorted to playing the foul game. The Ephs would proceed to hold on for an 18-point victory.

Karren had 20 points in the win, and he was joined by four other Ephs in double figures: Prowitt-Smith netted 17 and Spivy notched 16, while Lee and Glatzer contributed 11 apiece.