Men's basketball fades in 2nd half against No. 10 Williams

Matt Hart '16
Matt Hart '16

Williams College's Michael Mayer '14 poured in 24 points and the nationally ranked No. 10 Ephs came from behind in the second half for a 67-59 NESCAC win against Hamilton College at Hamilton's Margaret Bundy Scott Field House on Jan. 20.

Williams (16-1 overall, 5-0 NESCAC) won its 11th straight game and is a perfect 10-0 away from home. The Ephs shot 59 percent in the second half, when they rallied from an eight-point deficit.

The 6-foot, 9-inch Mayer shot 8-for-11 from the floor and made one 3-pointer. He also led the team with six rebounds. Taylor Epley '14 provided a spark off the bench with 14 points and three assists. Epley was 3 of 6 from 3-point range. Daniel Wohl '15 chipped in 13 points and James Klemm '13 had 10.

Matt Hart '16, who tops the Continentals (8-10, 1-5) with 15.7 points per game, led all players with 25. Hart made five shots from beyond the arc. Bradley Gifford '15 pulled down a career-high 12 boards and scored eight points. Eric Benvenuti '13 added eight points off the bench.

Neither team led by more than five points in the first half, and there were six ties in the opening 20 minutes. Benvenuti drained a 3-pointer just before the halftime buzzer that gave Hamilton a 29-26 lead at the break. Hart led the Continentals with 11 points in the half.

Hamilton took its largest lead of the afternoon at 38-30 on a Greg Newton '14 layup with 16:42 left. Williams climbed back to tie the score at 42-42 on a 3-point play by Mayer with 13:08 remaining. The Continentals grabbed their last lead at 48-47 on a Matt Dean '14 layup with 10:26 left.

The Ephs seized the lead for good with an 11-3 spurt for a 58-51 advantage with 5:25 remaining. Epley started the run with a layup and a 3-pointer. Wohl drained two free throws after Newton was whistled for a flagrant foul and then Mayer made a layup to complete the four-point possession. Mayer ended the run with two more free throws. Hart's trifecta accounted for the only Hamilton points during those five minutes.

"Our guys fought hard today and in a game like this, one or two plays make the difference," Hamilton head coach Adam Stockwell said. "We are improving each game and competing with nationally ranked teams. These games will help us tremendously down the road."

Williams' lead fluctuated between five and nine points the rest of the way. Mayer scored 15 points in the second half as the Ephs outscored the Continentals, 41-30. Williams shot 47 percent (23-49) from the field for the game, including 6 of 20 from long range. The Ephs went 15-for-26 (57.7 percent) at the free-throw line, and held a 36-34 rebounding edge.

Hamilton shot 39.7 percent (23-58) from the floor, including 7 of 20 from 3-point land. Williams' opponents are shooting 36.1 percent, which ranks the Ephs second in Division III in field goal percentage defense. The Continentals were just 6-for-9 at the line. Hamilton was playing a ranked opponent for the third time in its last four games.

The Continentals travel to SUNY Cobleskill for a non-conference game on Wednesday, Jan. 23. Williams goes to rival Amherst College in non-conference action on Wednesday.

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