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Ephs escape Wesley with first round win, 79-78

Williams’ men’s hoop team escaped a 10 point deficit with just over 11 minutes left, to defeat Wesley College (Md.) 79-78 in the Ephs first round matchup in the NCAA Division 3 tournament on Saturday.

Taylor Epley’s three on the wing with 53 seconds remaining helped give Williams a 75-70 lead, as they withstood the Wolverines Paul Reynolds ( 35 points) and his last minute heroics (8 points in final 30 seconds), as the Eph’s knocked down all four of their free throws in the final seconds to survive and advance.

“We made winning plays when we needed them,” said Williams head coach Mike Maker. “Nate (Robertson)’s pass on the backdoor with (James) Klemm and the scramble play with the three were huge – survive and advance as they say and that’s what we did.”

Robertson was key in keeping the Ephs poised down the stretch as the point guard found Sean Hoffman on a pick and roll with 3:49 left to put the Eph’s up 69-66.

After Reynolds answered with a bucket underneath, to cut the Eph’s lead to one, Robertson found Klemm on a backdoor cut. Klemm was able to finish and get the foul, and after the made free throw, Williams was up 72-68 with 2:43 left.

However, Wesley’s Quincy Pettiford answered with a hook in the lane, to cut it to 72-70 with 2:12 left.

“I thought it was a difficult first round matchup for us at home – they forced us out of rhythm,” Maker said.

For Wesley, Reynolds was the one doing most of the dancing, as the 6’4″ 245 pound forward shot an unheard of (14-19) from the field and (3-6) from behind the arc, with two of his threes coming in the final 14 seconds.

Yet Williams was able to climb back from down 10 at one point, to recapture the lead due to their own long-distance shooting. The Ephs shot (7-14) from three-land in the second half as Klemm went (5-8) from behind the arc for 19 points while Epley shot (4-9) from three for 24 points.

The Eph’s also helped their cause by shooting (15-18) from the charity stripe in the second half and (22-29) for the game.

Stats aside, the difference according to Coach Maker, was his senior guard leadership of Klemm and Robertson. Their poise and ability to create plays down the stretch has been a staple of the Williams basketball program for the past four years.

“We have two senior guards (Klemm and Robertson) who have won 100 games in their career so I hope somebody writes something about that – that’s only the second time in Williams history that has happened – we don’t win without them,” Maker said.

Williams will now host Catholic University¬†for next Saturday’s second round matchup.

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Posted by on March 3, 2013. Filed under Breaking News,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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