NCAA Second Round: Williams 90, Gwynedd Mercy 56

Williams Men's Basketball

Courtesy of Williams Sports Information

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. – Williams (22-6) defeated the Gwynedd Mercy Griffins (20-9) by a final score of 90-56 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. With the win, Williams advances to the Sweet Sixteen for the sixth time in the last ten years. 

Williams used its decisive height advantage to stifle Gwynedd Mercy's offense in the first several minutes. On the offensive end, Kyle Scadlock scored five quick points inside to help the Ephs build an early 7-0 lead. After a turnover by the Griffins, James Heskett drilled a three from the left corner to put the Ephs up 10-0 and force a timeout.

Out of the timeout, Gwynned Mercy ramped up its aggressive defense and went on a much-needed 5-0 run. But apart from that short stretch of momentum, the Ephs had total control throughout the half. In one notable sequence, Scadlock and Heskett threw down two-handed jams on consecutive fast breaks. Shortly after, Bobby Casey, Heskett, and Mickey Babek hit three straight three pointers to give the Ephs a 25-7 lead with 8:20 remaining in the half. The Griffins would not reach double figures until Jaylen Henry hit a jumper from the short corner with 5:39 left.

With the Ephs leading by 23 at 32-9, momentum swung back in favor of Gwynedd Mercy, who scored six straight points. Rich Dunham capped off the run with a two-handed dunk at the 4:26 mark. Stubbornly refusing to let the Griffins claw their way back into the game, Williams responded with three straight layups by Matt Karpowicz, Casey, and Scadlock to push the margin back over twenty. Heskett hit another three with under a minute left, his fourth of the half, to give Williams a 44-19 lead at the break.

The Ephs shot 16 of 25 (64 percent) from the floor, including 6 of 11 (54.5%) from downtown. Gwynedd Mercy shot 9 of 35 (25.7%) from the field and just 1 of 11 from three.

Heskett led Williams with 18 points. Scadlock added 9 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists.

Dunham contributed 7 points to lead the Griffins.

Gwynedd Mercy came out in the second half in a fiery full-court press. Though they forced three Eph turnovers in the opening four minutes, the press also allowed Williams to find several open looks on the other end, including a dunk by Karpowicz and a corner three by Henry Feinberg.

With the score 61-41 and just 10 minutes left, the Ephs fired off a quick 8-0 run to balloon their lead to 28. The run included backbreaking consecutive threes from Casey and Heskett. Casey continued his hot shooting with a pull-up three that put Williams up 76-44 with 6:30 left. 

Heskett led all scorers with 30. Casey added an impressive 21 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists. As a team, the Ephs shot 31 of 49 (63.3%) from the floor and 12 of 23 (52.2%) from long range.

Cubbage led Gwynedd Mercy with 18 points and 5 boards. Dunham added 13 for the Griffins.

Williams advances to next weekend's Sweet Sixteen where they will play the winner of a second round game between Whitman (27-1) and Pomona-Pitzer (26-2).