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Ephs look poised to make another championship run

WILLIAMSTOWN – Williams Men’s Basketball Head Coach Mike Maker may be hiding his team’s aspirations for the remainder of the 2013 season.

However, there is no denying that this year’s 14-1 squad, with league MVP candidate Taylor Epley leading the way, has another Final Four appearance in its windshield.

“I am really happy where we are at,” Maker said after the Ephs’ 74-65 win over Wesleyen on Friday night and 96-63 win over Connecticut College on Saturday. “But I am not content where we are at.”

After the come-from-behind win over Wesleyan at home, the Ephs were up against the Camels on Saturday afternoon – less than 24 hours after Friday’s win.

Many thought the Ephs would have a hard time getting over the hump; however, Williams raced out to an early 16-0 lead in the game’s opening five minutes.

Eph Michael Mayer (17 points) opened the game with a simple post move and score, while Epley added five of his game-high 27 points in the opening minutes.

“We looked fresh as a daisy,” Maker said. “We can’t play better than this weekend.”

On Saturday, the Ephs used everyone on Maker’s bench, as Matt McCreary hit a jumper from the foul line to put Williams up 20-6 before Mayer hit a soft floater on a nice spin move on the block to put the Ephs up by 16 with 9:46 left in the first half.

With Williams up 42-36 at the half, the Camels came out in the second half and started to force the ball inside on the dribble-drive before kicking it out to sophomore guard Matt Vadas, who hit five threes to lead the Camels with 23 points.

Maker called timeout after a Vadas three cut the lead to 54-39 with 14:08 left, but from there on, Epley took over with both the three-point shot and the dribble-drive, adding floaters from all angles to build the lead back up.

“If there is a better player in our league, I would like to know who he is right now,” said Maker of Epley. “I think he is playing at such a high level – in all facets of the game – he is our leading scorer and guards the opposing team’s best player, and he plays a majority of our team’s minutes.”

While the Camels may have been overmatched, the Ephs hit some bumps on the road in the second half that Maker addressed after the game.

“I thought we lost our defensive discipline, and we got comfortable with the lead,” Maker said. “We lost focus not playing to the best of our ability on every possession.”

With Williams now undefeated in the league at 4-0, the Ephs head into the heart of their schedule, heading to rival Amherst on Jan. 23.

“I couldn’t be happier with our progress and our development and look forward to Sunday off, and 4-0 in the league, and getting inspiration for the week,” Maker added.

The inspiration for the week may have come from rarely-used substitute Greg Payton from Williamstown, who nailed a three in the corner and a bucket underneath for the final touches on the 33-point win.

While the Ephs look poised for another Final Four run, the 4-0 start to league play may have been a result from their holiday trip to California, where the Ephs garnered wins over Luther College and Cal Lutheran.

“The trip to California was great – we fostered a lot of relationships because we were together for so long,” Maker said. “Those trips are good for culture and fellowship.”

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Posted by on January 17, 2013. Filed under College Sports,Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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