Courtesty of Williams Sports Information
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. – The Williams men's basketball team (23–5) defeated Bridgewater State (18–10), 56-45, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. After a sluggish start, a strong second half, and a season-high 10 steals, helped the Ephs through to the next round.
In the first half, the Bears employed a combination of man-to-man and zone defenses to keep the Eph offense in check. Bridgewater State limited Williams to 22.6 percent (7-of-31) from the field while keeping NESCAC Player of the Year James Heskett scoreless on 0-of-9 shooting.
After making their first two shots of the game to go up 4-0, Williams missed 10 straight shot attempts, eight of which were 3-pointers. Meanwhile, Bridgewater State went on a 9-0 run to take the lead. Forward Marcos Soto ended the drought with a layup and a 3-pointer on consecutive possessions, tying the game at 9-9.
The first half, which featured six lead changes, finished 21-20 in Williams' favor. Bridgewater State forward Joseph Carty recorded 10 rebounds in the half.
The Ephs came out of the break with improved ball movement.
Williams started the second half on an 11-4 run, taking a 32-24 lead with 14:43 remaining. Bridgewater State trimmed the deficit to five on a tough 3-pointer by Carty, but a Heskett 3-pointer brought the score to 37-27, the Ephs' first double-digit lead. Carty, who at one point had scored his team's last 11 points, brought the deficit back down to five at 9:54.
Up 39-34, Williams then went on a 14-0 run to take a commanding lead. The Ephs scored on six straight trips down the floor while holding the Bears scoreless for over five minutes.
The game finished with a final score of 56-45.
Casey provided 17 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals for Williams. Heskett added 13, all of which came on 4-of-6 shooting in the second half. Carty finished with a dominant 17-point, 14-rebound double-double for Bridgewater State, while guard Rocky DeAndrade scored 11. Carty and DeAndrade each played 39 minutes, while forward Rayshon Ward, who had eight points and six rebounds, played 38 minutes.
Bridgewater State shot 17-for-52 (32.7%) and 6-for-25 for 3 (24.0%), while Williams shot 20-for-52 (38.5%) and 7-for-29 (24.1) from behind the arc.
Williams plays Ramapo at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Chandler Gymnasium. Ramapo defeated Moravian 86-61 in the first round.