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Eph men’s hoops drop to Amherst

WILLIAMSTOWN – The Ephs had aspirations of another NESCAC league title, after being 20-2 and a perfect 8-0 in league play heading into Sunday’s game against rival Amherst.

However, what the Ephs lacked was inspiration – and offense.

Amherst broke open a six-point lead in the second half with a flurry of treys with less than 10 minutes left to build a 19-point cushion. They cruised the rest of the way for the 65-48 win and maintained their perfect league record (21-2, 9-0) atop the standings.

“I called timeout [after the Amherst second-half run] and told the guys our goal was to cut the deficit in half by the five-minute mark and we didn’t do that,” Williams Head Coach Mike Maker said.

The Ephs not only didn’t do that, but they only scored eight points in the final nine minutes, shooting an abysmal 30 percent (14/46) for the game and scoring a season-low 48 points.

“I thought we weren’t shooting the ball, and we were down by six, and we were getting the energy and the effort and all that – but we weren’t executing well enough,” Maker said.

Williams was able to hang with the Jeffs in the first half, down 36-29 at the intermission, by constantly feeding their big post player, Mike Mayer (17 points, 10 rebounds), and getting to the free-throw line, as the Ephs shot (14/19) at the line to stay afloat in the first frame.

Amherst was able to stay out of foul trouble in the second half and stay aggressive in its man-to-man defense, as the Ephs got away from their inside game and resorted back to shooting from the outside.

“When you play a team like that, that has their level of athleticism and length, physicality and experience – that’s familiar with us – you need to go deeper, and we didn’t do that,” Maker said.

Eph leading scorer Taylor Epley (four points) struggled again against a good defensive team, shooting 1/8 from the field, but did hit a short jumper to cut the Amherst lead to 43-33, as Nate Robertson (13 points) followed with two free throws to cut it to eight.

Amherst responded with an emphatic alley-oop dunk that put the Jeffs up 45-35, before Mayer responded from the outside with a three-pointer from the top of the key and a jumper from the foul line to cut the lead to 46-40 with 13:45 left.

The Jeffs countered by putting the finishing touches on the Ephs with a 13-0 run, thanks to three treys from beyond arc and eight points by Amherst point guard Aaron Toomey (14 points) to make it a 59-40 Amherst lead with 9:17 left.

“They executed and they made big shots with their big players, and we did not execute offensively and did not make shots from guys who normally make shots,” Maker said.

The Ephs rebounded Tuesday night against Trinity, winning at home 68-47. The Ephs finished the league at 9-1, while Amherst finished in the top spot with a 104-101, 3 OT win over Middlebury.

The top-seeded Jeffs will host the NESCAC tournament, so if Williams hopes to win another league crown, the road goes through Amherst.

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Posted by on February 14, 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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