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Williams hoops finishes week with upset of Middlebury

WILLIAMSTOWN – Williams men’s hoops’ roller coaster week ended on a high: after losing to Amherst 83-67, the Ephs pulled off a late comeback to upset third-ranked Middlebury, 64-63.

Junior guard Daniel Wohl finished off the Panthers with a driving lay-up with just under 30 seconds left and Williams survived a late three-point attempt on an out of bounds play as time expired to help the ninth-ranked Ephs move to 17-2 overall.

“It says a lot about our kids – we have good players that believe in team first and sacrifice individual goals for the welfare of the team,” said Williams Head Coach Mike Maker.

Williams battled throughout the first half, as Ephs center Michael Mayer, who was battling an illness as well as the Middlebury frontcourt, kept the Ephs in the game with 16 points in the first frame, despite trailing 41-38 at the half.

“We talked about resiliency at halftime – we were happy to be down three because we had some unforced turnovers that lead to easy baskets,” Maker said.

The Ephs opened the second half in a 2-3 zone defense and tried to push the ball up the court after each Panther possession in order to score some easy baskets themselves.

“Our tank was close to empty so we went to zone instead of subbing – we also wanted to advance the ball and catch them in numbers,” Maker said.

Maker did sub with Mayer, as he needed rest throughout the second-half as Sean Hoffman gave the Ephs a huge lift, with a thunderous dunk on a pick and roll that cut the Panthers lead to 43-42 with 10:34 left.

While leading Ephs scorer Taylor Epley (four points) was shut down by Middlebury defender Nolan Thompson, the Panthers were able to carve out a 60-52 lead with 5:19 left as James Jensen (12 points) hit a turnaround jumper.

“Nolan Thompson is the best defender in our league,” Maker said,

The Ephs began to chip away late in the second half, thanks to point guard Nate Robertson, who began to penetrate the lane for easy hoops.

Robertson found Hoffman for another dunk to cut the lead to six before converting an easy basket underneath on a drive to cut the lead to 60-56 with 3:39 left.

Thompson countered with a three, to put the Panthers up by seven points, before Robertson answered again.

This time, the point guard found Mayer underneath to cut the lead to 63-58 with 2:43 left.

After a defensive stop, an Ephs jumper by James Klemm (eight points) and two free throws by Epley cut the lead to 63-62 with 59.7 seconds left.

“I thought the difference in the game was when we went zone in the second half – our personnel dictates with our length that we play it,” Maker said.

After a turnover, the Ephs pushed the ball up the floor and Wohl converted the winning shot as Middlebury called timeout.

Middlebury couldn’t convert underneath but had a last second chance for the win as an errant tipped pass out of bounds went the Panthers’ way.

After both teams called timeout, to set up the final play, Maker had to decide whether to stay in zone or play man-to-man.

Maker stayed in-zone and forced a long shot well beyond the arc that hit the front of the rim and bounced out.

“We did a great job on that out-of-bounds scenario and forced a long pass,” Maker said. “We couldn’t have guarded it any better.”

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Posted by on January 31, 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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