WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- Williams College defeated the Virginia Wesleyan Marlins on Friday in the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA tournament. The Ephs, who are tournament hosts, won 79-73 to advance to the Elite Eight against Amherst on Saturday evening. The Marlins ended their season at 25-5 while the Ephs moved to 28-2 on the year.

After the Ephs started off the game behind eight consecutive points on 4 for 4 shooting from Troy Whittington, the Marlins rallied back. At the 12:20 mark, Ed Roberts swooshed a 3-ball from the top left to cut the Eph lead to four. Just over a minute later, DJ Woodmore drove to the hoop to cut the lead to two. Behind a 3-pointer from Tre’ Ford and a hoop from Chris Teasley, the Marlins took their first lead of the game at 16-15 with 9:23 to play.

After Virginia Wesleyan pushed its lead to six behind a long 3 from Teasley, the Ephs were forced to take their first timeout with 7:50 on the clock. Three minutes later, James Wang drove by his defender and finished for two. He was fouled on the play and made the resulting free throw to cut the lead to five.

The Marlins, however, responded. With 2:44 to play, Woodmore had a breakaway off an Eph turnover. He made the layup and was fouled; he made the resulting free throw to push the lead back to eight.

With just under a minute to play, Nate Robertson had a three-point play of his own behind a layup and free throw. With 30 seconds on the clock Donald Vaughn responded with a hoop from just above the foul line to push the Marlin lead to 34-27 going into the half.

Whittington led the Ephs in the first half with 12 points while nine Marlins contributed to their offense.

After Wang started off the second half with a 3, it looked like the Ephs might go on a run, but the Marlins continued to play hard. Led by two 3s from Ford and Woodmore, the Marlins kept the lead at seven. With 15:25 to play, James Klemm hit a long ball from the top left behind a screen to cut the lead to two.

With the Ephs stuck down two, Teasley drove to the hoop for a bucket, but Whittington responded with an offensive rebound and hoop at 13:34. The Marlins rallied as Chris Astorga nailed a downtown 3-pointer and Vaughn dunked a putback just over a minute later to push the lead back to seven.

With 11:40 to play, Wang hit a left baseline jumper; Brian Emerson and Whittington hit four free throws between them to cut the lead to one. Unable to take the lead, though, Ford responded yet again for the Marlins when he hit a long ball from the top right with 9:28 to play. Woodmore added another 3- pointer for the Marlins from the top right as well.

From that point forward, it was all Ephs.

First-year Hayden Rooke-Ley drove baseline and paused before going up. He was fouled but was able to finish and make the free throw with 7:49 to play. Just under a minute later, he made a hoop while falling down to cut the lead to two. After a foul shot from the Marlins, Wang made both opportunities of a 1-and-1 to cut the lead back to one for the Ephs.

The Ephs were finally able to take the lead in classic fashion – Robertson drove to the hoop and passed it off to Whittington, who dunked to give the Ephs their first lead since early in the first half with 5:51 to play.

The Ephs put the game away behind a 3-pointer apiece from Wang and Harlan Dodson. .

Leading the way for the Ephs was Whittington with 28 points. Wang was the only other Eph in double digits with 16. As a whole, the Ephs shot 43.4 percent from the field.

Teasley led the way for the Marlins with 17 while Woodmore and Ford added 13 and 11 respectively. The Marlins shot 41.5 percent from the field.