WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – The Williams men's basketball team defeated the RPI Engineers (0-5) 113-88 today behind a strong offensive performance from its bench. With the win, the Ephs move to 6-1 on the year.
Up 21-17 with thirteen minutes left in the opening frame, the Ephs began to pull away. Ryan Kilcullen dished the ball from the block to Daniel Wohl at the top right part of the key. Wohl swooshed the three to make the Eph lead seven. Taylor Epley then knocked down a three off of a dribble to push the lead to double digits. On the next Eph possession, John Weinheimer drove baseline off of a pretty pass from Wohl and finished a floater for the twelve-point lead. Daniel Aronowitz and Wohl each added a lay-up and Mike Greenman finished a jumper to push the Eph run to 14-0 before Chase Almond hit a pair of free throws to cut the lead back to 35-29 with just under nine minutes to play. After Weinheimer finished in the paint, Tyler Gendron hit a three ball from the top right part of the key to break RPI's nearly five-minute field goal drought.
The Engineers were unable to cut into the lead to less than 15, and the Ephs pushed the lead to as many as 30 before the half was out. The Ephs went on an 11-2 run over the final 3:14 that consisted of a jumper from Duncan Robinson, a pair of free throws from Kilcullen and a finish in the paint and dunk from Aronowitz. Josh Dugas scored a pair of free throws with seven seconds left for the Engineers before Darrias Sime finished the half with a pretty lay-up inside for the Ephs. The Ephs went into the locker room with the 64-34 lead. Epley and Kilcullen were the only players in double digits with 15 and 11 points respectively.
Out of the break, Epley hit yet another three-ball for the Ephs from the top left part of the key. Robinson added one from the same place on the next Eph possession. Rooke-Ley then stole the ball and took it the length of the court for two. Dugas finally broke the Ephs' strong start with a long baseline two from the left side. The Engineers then got a 1-for-2 performance from the line and a finish inside from Chase Almond before Epley hit a baseline three-ball for the Ephs to push the lead back to 36. The Ephs continued to control the rest of the half despite hard-fought play from the Engineers, who cut the deficit back to 23 before the game was out.
Epley led the way for the Ephs tonight with 23 points; Aronowitz added 22. Kilcullen and Greenman rounded out the double-digit club with 11 points apiece. The Ephs were 61.1% from the field on the night.
Leading for the Engineers was Gendron with 20; Reggie Colas added 17, and Dugas added 13 for RPI, who shot 36.3% from the floor.
Said Coach Mike Maker about the Ephs' run in the first half, "I thought our second unit, whom we subbed with 13 or 14 minutes to go in the first half, gave us an energy boost. I think our whole team fed off of that, and I thought from that moment on, we were in control of the game. I thought it was the first time all year that our defense gave us easy opportunities on the offensive end. We're going to need to build on that if we want to do the things that we have set out to do this season."
He added, "[RPI's] not an easy team to play as they're very disruptive on the defensive end with multiple double teams and a scrambling, chaotic system that forces you to play differently. I thought we handled that very well."
Said Maker about the Ephs' defense, "[Like other teams] across the country, with the new emphasis on hand checking and freedom of movement, we've struggled with [guarding the dribble]. I think we've made a lot of progress the last few games. Certainly tonight was an indication that we're getting better in that area."
The Ephs return to the court on Saturday to take on Springfield. Tip-off is set for 4:00 PM.