WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Behind a 33-point performance from James Wang – including 24 in the first half – the Ephs defeated Amherst 74-70 today in Chandler Gymnasium. The two teams faced off earlier this season, a decision that Amherst won 92-89 in overtime, handing the Ephs their only loss of the year.
Williams (23-1, 9-0 NESCAC) scored its second consecutive NESCAC title and undefeated NESCAC regular season. It also shared the Little Three crown with Amherst, who moved to 21-2 on the year (7-2 NESCAC). Coach
The Ephs’ offense began with four consecutive baskets from Wang, who dribbled past and backed down defenders to give the Ephs their first four hoops. With 16:47 to play, Harlan Dodson hit a 3-pointer to give the Ephs the early 11-4 lead and force the Lord Jeffs to call their first timeout. Just as it looked like Amherst might get back in it after a hook shot from Jeff Holmes, Wang knocked down a long ball from the left corner with 14:51 to play.
Just over two minutes later, the Lord Jeffs showed some 3-point shooting of their own as David Waller knocked down a 3-pointer from the top of the key to cut the lead to one. On the ensuing possession, Willy Workman added another 3. The Lord Jeffs topped off the run with a basket from the top of the arc from Holmes that forced the Ephs to use their first timeout with 11:16 to play.
Wang hit a step-back 3-pointer with 7:00 to play to cut the Amherst lead to two and then hit a pull-up jumper to tie the game with 5:52 left. The two teams continued to trade baskets for the rest of the half. The Ephs, however, were able to take a lead behind two Wang 3-pointers. They went into the locker room with the 44-36 lead and the momentum after Nate Robertson stole the ball with seconds remaining and took it the length of the court. The Lord Jeffs were called for goaltending, and Robertson was credited with the basket as he buzzer sounded.
Amherst came out of the locker room on fire.
Behind a 3-pointer and a put back off of a rebound – both from Taylor Barrise – they cut the lead to three. Two possessions later, Workman hit a long ball from the right corner to tie the game at 46 all.
Wang then hit a 3-poimer and Taylor Epley added one from the left corner with a hand in his face, but Amherst did not go away. Aaron Toomey and Barrise each hit 3-pointers of their own to tie the game at 54 with just under 12 minutes to play.
As the two teams fought back and forth for a lead, the Ephs found a momentum jump from Troy Whittington with 6:32 to play when he tied the game at 62 with a dunk. On the ensuing possession, he dunked again as the ball bounced out of the hoop off of a 3-point attempt.
It was a one-point game until James Klemm hit his first hoop of the day, a 3 from with 1:15 to play to give the Ephs the 74-70 lead. Although Amherst was forced to foul, the Ephs could not convert the front-ends of 1 and 1 opportunities, and it remained a two-possession game for the final 30 seconds. Although the Lord Jeffs found a few final second opportunities, they were unable to finish, and the Ephs walked off the court NESCAC regular-season champions.
As a team, the Ephs shot 44.4 percent from the field while Amherst shot 40.3 percent. Leading the way for the Lord Jeffs was Workman with 22 points.