Courtesy Williams Sports Information
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. – Top-seeded Williams College rolled past eighth-seeded Bowdoin 82-62 in the quarterfinals of the 2011 NESCAC Men's Basketball Championship on Saturday. The win moves the Ephs to 24-1 on the season while Bowdoin finishes the year at 14-10. Williams will host the semifinals next weekend and will face Trinity, a 70-47 winner over Tufts on Saturday.
The game opened with two steals from Will Hanley in the first 1:10. Following the turnovers, the Ephs started to bring their offensive game. With the score at 12-11, Taylor Epley hit a three-pointer from the right corner with 11:21 to play.
The three-pointer was the fifth in a streak of baskets from behind the arc that the Ephs started the game on – Harlan Dodson, James Wang, Hayden Rooke-Ley, and Jordan Mickens also each had one. Troy Whittington followed up the long ball with a hoop from under the basket to push the Eph lead to six – the largest of the game so far – and force the second Polar Bear timeout. Out of the timeout, Epley hit another three-ball, but Matt Mathias swooshed one of his own to keep the lead at six.
When the Ephs pushed their lead to double digits, Bowdoin was forced to use its third timeout. Out of the break, Hanley had a beautiful spin move that ended in a hoop. The Ephs found a momentum jump when Whittington blocked a shot at the 7:15 mark; less than two minutes later, he added another block in transition.
At the 5:25 mark, Wang picked for Epley just outside the arc; the first-year sunk his third third-pointer of the half from the top right as two defenders struggled to get around Wang's screen. Hanley, however, responded with another classic spin move to keep the Ephs' lead at 12. With just under four minutes to play, the Polar Bears cut the lead to 10 behind a drive-to-the-hoop from Ryan O'Connell.
The Ephs finished the half with two consecutive length-of-the-floor drives from Wang to push the lead to 16. They entered the locker room with the 44-26 lead.
Following a Whittington hoop to open the second half, Randy DeFeo hit a three from the top of the arc. Maximilian Staiger came up with a huge block, and Justin Nowell had a nice finish at the 18:32 mark to cut the lead to 15. The Ephs, however, continued to rely on their three-point shooting, which proved too much for the Polar Bears.
At the 17:03 mark, Dodson swooshed a long ball from the right corner, and Wang added another from the top left less than a minute later. Determined to hang on, however, the Polar Bears got a three-pointer of their own from DeFeo off of a nice offensive rebound by Hanley. The Ephs' offensive power proved too much, though, as their highlights came behind two dunks from Whittington – one an alley-oop off of a pass from Wang with 14:53 to play and the other a left-handed dunk eight minutes later. Both teams continued to fight until the final whistle when the Ephs found their second victory of the season against the Polar Bears.
Leading the way for the Polar Bears today was DeFeo with 14 points. The only senior on the Bowdoin roster, he received a standing ovation from the Bowdoin fans as he went to the bench with 2:23 to play in his final collegiate game. The Polar Bears shot 35.2% on the day.
For the Ephs, Whittington and Wang each netted 14 points. Williams shot 53.2% on the day.