Williams advances in NCAA tourney with 89-78 win vs. Catholic in second round
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- Williams defeated Catholic 89-78 on Saturday in the second round of the NCAA tournament 89-78. With the win, the Ephs (25-4) advance to the third round, which will take place next weekend. Game times and locations will be announced once all other second-round games have concluded.
The game was close from the opening tip. With Catholic up 17-11, the Ephs looked to get back in the game. Taylor Epley had a pretty putback off of his own miss in the paint. Chris Kearney responded for Catholic with a monster of a dunk before Daniel Wohl hit a 3-pointer from the top-left part of the arc with 10:46 on the clock. Following a forced turnover, the Ephs cut the lead to one with a finish inside by Michael Mayer. The Ephs then took the lead behind two great plays by John Weinheimer. On the first, he got over the defenders to finish a putback. On the next play, he stole the ball and took it the length of the court for the basket. On the Ephs' next possession, Mayer finished inside.
Catholic (25-4) was unflustered by the Williams run. Steve Limberiou hit a long ball from the top-left part of the key before Kearney dunked yet again off a behind-the-back pass to tie the game at 24-24 with 8:14 left to play in the half. The Ephs quickly gained back the lead when Nate Robertson went 2-for-2 from the charity stripe. Mayer then hit a 3-ball off a pass from Epley to push the lead to five, a lead the Ephs would hold onto until the final minute.
With 1:46 left in the half, the Ephs actually put their lead to seven -- tied for their largest of the game to that point -- off a jumper by Mayer. Catholic refused to go quietly into the locker room, though. Bryson Fonville responded with a jumper. Fonville then came up with a huge defensive play when he took a charge with less than 30 seconds on the clock. Williams head coach Mike Maker got a technical foul for complaining about the call, and Nate Koenig went 1-for-2 from the charity stripe on the resulting free throws. The Cardinals cut the lead to one when Limberiou hit a long 3 while falling down from the right side of the key. The Ephs got one final possession, and Wohl hit a pull-up jumper from the left elbow at the buzzer to send the Ephs into the locker room up 41-38.
Each team had two double-digits scorers in the opening half: Epley scored 11 and Mayer 13 for the Ephs; Limberiou scored 11 and Kearney 13 for the Cardinals.
Out of the break, both teams looked to gain a decisive lead. Following a Robertson layup for the Ephs to start the half, Catholic got right back in the game. Koenig hit a long ball to cut the lead to two before Kearney went 1-for-2 from the charity stripe. The Cardinals took the lead with a finish in the paint by Fonville to make it 44-43 a little more than two minutes into the half. They pushed their lead to three with a layup from Kearney. The Ephs finally broke the Cardinals' run with a long ball from Wohl off a pretty pass from Robertson to tie the game at 46-46.
For much of the rest of the half, the teams traded hoops. Catholic eventually gained a five-point lead when Fonville created his own opportunity for a long ball from the top-left part of the arc. After Robertson converted both shots from the charity stripe, Fonville had a pretty pull-up jumper. Mayer responded with a nice finish in the paint after he backed down his defender. The Ephs tied the game again after Wohl came up with a huge block on the defensive end. He swooshed a baseline 3 on the resulting possession.
After trading buckets, the Ephs gained a decisive lead behind a pair of 3-balls from their senior captains Robertson and James Klemm to make it 76-70 with a little more than four minutes on the clock. Catholic responded with a 3 of its own as Fonville drove to the hoop and bounced the ball back between his legs to Limberiou, who hit the much-needed shot for the Cardinals. The Ephs, however, continued to push as Mayer finished inside and Epley hit a 3 to push the lead to eight. Another 3-ball from Klemm made the Ephs' lead 11 with less than two minutes to play. Despite aggressive play by the Cardinals, they were unable to overcome the double-digit deficit.
Leading the way for the Ephs was Mayer with 25 points. He also had eight rebounds. Epley added 14 for Williams, and Wohl rounded out the double-digit club with 11. The Ephs shot 47.2 percent from the floor.
Limberiou led the way with 20 for the Cardinals. Despite missing the final 12 minutes of the game due to an injury, Kearney added 16. Fonville also had 16 for Catholic, which shot 48.1 percent from the field.