WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Daniel Wohl scored a layup with 31 seconds left as No. 9 Williams handed No. 3 Middlebury its first loss of the season, 64-63, on Saturday.
The Ephs (17-2, 6-0 NESCAC) are 77-25 all time against Middlebury, but the Panthers (16-1, 5-1 NESCAC) had won three in a row and six of the past 10. Both teams came into the game tied for first in the NESCAC; Williams will remain there along with Amherst, which also won Saturday.
The Panthers, who are just 2-7 in Williams’ Chandler Gymnasium since 2000, opened a nine-point lead late in the first half, only to see Williams score six in a row to trim the halftime deficit to 41-38.
Middlebury led by as many as eight points in the second half and by seven, 63-56, with 4:21 remaining. The Panthers didn’t score again, missing four shots — they had two others blocked — and committing three turnovers to finish the game.
Meanwhile, Williams went to work: Michael Mayer, who led all scorers with 24 points, made a layup, James Klemm connected on a pull-up jumper and Taylor Epley hit two free throws with 1:10 left to pull the Ephs within one. The free throws also were significant because Middlebury’s leading scorer, Peter Lynch with 16 (on 7 of 8 shooting), fouled out to create them.
With the shot clock winding down for Middlebury out of a timeout, Mayer came up with a steal for the Ephs. Down the other end of the floor, Wohl drove to the hoop to give Williams the lead. The Panthers had a couple of chances to pull out the win, but Nate Roberton blocked one shot and Hunter Merryman’s desperation 3 from well beyond the arc bounced off the front iron.
Robertson and Wohl each added 11 points for Williams. Robertson also had six assists. The Ephs shot 47.9 percent from the floor.
Joey Kizel had 15 points and James Jensen added 12 for Middlebury, which shot 39.0 percent from the field.