MILTON, MA – The Williams men's basketball team defeated the Curry Colonials (3-4) tonight 97-93. The Ephs (6-1) were down by as many as 15 points in the first half before bounding back at the end of the first half to earn the hardfought win.
While the Ephs were the first on the board with a long ball from James Klemm, the Colonels went on an 11-0 run to start the game. Lambros Papalambros, Carlos Ribeiro, and Sedale Jones each hit a three before Ribeiro finished inside. The Ephs fought back early with an and-one finish fromTaylor Epley, but Jones hit another three to push the lead to double digits just over four minutes into the game.
Minutes later, the Ephs came roaring back from a 15-point deficit with a 10-0 run to cut the Curry lead to five. Parker McClelland sunk a long ball off of a pretty pass from Nate Robertson to start the run before Robertson finished a jumper. Epley then hit a three off of an assist from Sean Hoffmann before making a pair of shots from the charity space.
When the Colonials finally ended the Eph run, though, with a pair of free throws from Jones, the Colonials had the lead at 27-20 with 11:32 to play in the half.
Several minutes passed with the two teams swapping before the Ephs gained momentum once again when down 41-29 with 6:54 on the clock. Michael Mayer finished a lay-up inside and was fouled; he converted the three-point play. Matt McCreary then finished in the paint as well and was also fouled. He was also able to finish the three-point opportunity. After another lay-up from Mayer and a pair of free throws from Epley, Klemm knocked down a huge three ball to cut the lead to 45-42 with 3:27 to play. Curry, however, came roaring back with a lay-up from AJ Stephens and another from Jones. The Ephs, though, refused to go away as Mayer finished yet another and-one opportunity and a pair of lay-ups. While the Colonials managed to hold onto their lead, John Weinheimer came up with a huge jumper as the clock winded down to give the Ephs some momentum going into the break despite losing 53-49 at the halftime buzzer.
Jones had a stellar first half for the Colonials with 22 points and five rebounds. Papalambros was also in double digits in the opening frame with 12. Epley carried the Ephs with 16 and Mayer added 12.
Out of the break, the Ephs quickly took the lead on back-to-back three pointers from Klemm. Jones went one-for-two from the line before Klemm hit a third long ball to put the Ephs up 58-54 just over two minutes into the second frame. The Colonials responded with a long ball of their own from Ribeiro before Jones converted an and-one opportunity to give Curry back the lead. The two teams traded baskets for several plays before Curry scored six straight points behind a lay-up and a jumper form Papalambros and another finish inside from Jones. The Ephs eventually marched back to the lead with a beautiful dunk from Epley off of a pass from Mayer. With the Ephs up 72-69 with just under ten to play, both teams continued to fight.
The Ephs finally took control while up three with just over five minutes to play. Weinheimer passed inside to Mayer who finished in the paint to make it 81-76. After Robertson and Stephens traded lay-ups, Klemm and Ribeiro then traded long balls, but the Ephs continued to control. Robertson made a lay-up before Klemm went two-for-two from the line. Mayer then went one-for-two from the charity space to make it 91-81 with1:37 on the clock. Curry continued to fight, though, and were able to cut the lead to just two eight seconds to play. It proved too little too late, though, as the Ephs walked off the court with the victory.
Jones led the way on the night with a double double; he had 34 points and ten rebounds. Papalambros added 20. Stephens also posted an impressive performance with 16 points and eight boards. As a team, Curry was 45.7% from the floor.
Mayer posted a double double as well with 26 points and 11 rebounds. Epley added 22 on 6-for-9 shooting. Klemm also had 22. The Ephs shot 55.6% from the field.
After the game, Coach Mike Maker said, "We have wonderful leadership and a tough-minded basketball team. To be honest, I thought the difference tonight was our defensive intensity in the second half. We really guarded them very well in the second half, and it allowed us to get out and attack offensively with our fast break and play more wide open basketball and be more efficient on the offensive end. I give our players a lot of credit. I think Curry is as talented a team individually as we'll play all year. They have three or four guys who can get their own shot."
He went on to elaborate about the offense: "We were very efficient offensively. We shared the ball; we attacked, and we took what the defense gave us. We trusted our system and our teammates, and when we do that, we're difficult to guard. We're shooting at almost 50% on the year; that's really good. We're scoring an awful lot of points. As long as our defense remains solid, we have a chance to be a really good team."
About the Curry comeback late, Maker said, "We made it interesting. I don't think we closed the game like we wanted to close it – we had a couple of turnovers late, missed foul shots, a foul. I think that's lack of practice time and a little fatigue. We need to get better in those areas. Overall, though, I am very pleased with this road win against a talented team."
The Ephs return home tomorrow to take on Castelton at 7:30