Photo Gallery | Williams plays Springfield College in basketball
WILLIAMSTOWN — If there's one word that could sum up the 2015 portion of the Williams College men's basketball season, it would be "resilient."
The Ephs demonstrated that in their final game of the year Saturday afternoon. Trailing by as many as 21 points in the first half, Williams rallied in the second half to beat Springfield 72-62.
"I think we've had this conversation earlier in the year. We had lost two in a row and were down 21 and 15 at the half, and we didn't give up," Williams guard Cole Teal said after the game. "We just kept fighting.
"We dug in defensively. We were so good in the second half."
After the Ephs opened the second half with a 21-5 run to get back in the game, Adam Kroot's basket with 6:37 left in the game put Williams ahead for keeps against Springfield (3-5). The win ends a two-game losing streak for a Williams team that started the season 5-0.
"I knew we had a chance to get back in the game, because we did the same thing on Wednesday," Williams coach Kevin App said. "We got down 10 at halftime [against SUNY-Oneonta], had no life to us and came out in the second half. Time and time again made runs to cut it to two.
"I knew we had it in us. I'm really proud of them."
Teal led the way for Williams (6-2) with 15 points, while Dan Aronowitz and Kyle Scadlock had 14 points and eight rebounds each. It was a huge second half for Scadlock as the freshman from Cleveland was scoreless at halftime on 0-for-4 shooting from the floor. He was 5 for 8 in the second half. He scored eight of his 14 points in the first five minutes of the second half, and included in those eight were a big dunk that got his team and the crowd fired up.
"At halftime our coach really laid into us, because we were coming off a loss to Oneonta State. We really lost because we didn't bring any energy," said Scadlock. "We had a good practice before this game, but then we came out flat again in the first half.
"In the locker room at halftime, we just knew we had to refocus and bring some energy. In the first five minutes, it showed."
The first half Scadlock referred to was as "yeesh" as any the Ephs had played this year.
Williams led 11-7 after back-to-back drives to the bucket by Teal. The Pride responded in a big way, outscoring the Ephs 29-6.
Springfield hit six 3-point baskets during the run, and defensively coach Charlie Brock's squad held the Ephs to only two 3-point hoops by freshman James Heskett. Springfield was 8 for 13 from outside the arc in the first half, 6 of 7 during that run.
Whether Williams has played well or not, one thing the Ephs have been really good at is closing out halves defensively. Springfield took a 39-18 lead on a trey by Alex Garstka with 3:24 left in the first half. The Pride did not score again while Williams used 3-pointers from Bobby Casey and Aronowitz to close the gap to 39-24 at halftime.
It took Springfield nearly six minutes to make a basket in the second half, and Williams took full advantage. The Ephs scored the first 10 points of the half. Teal started things with a drive to the basket and Aronowitz scored on a drive, kissing the ball high off the glass for two.
Ed Flynn's basket with 12:10 left put Williams up 45-43, the first lead since 11-10 with 14:15 left in the first half. There were five lead changes until Kroot's hoop.
Springfield cut the lead to 57-55 on a Garska basket, but Scadlock outscored Springfield 6-2 on a pair of 3-point plays to help the Ephs pull away.
Josh Altman scored 11 points to lead Springfield, scoring all 11 in the first half. He was 0 for 7 in the second half.
"We made them miss a little bit," said App. "When teams are sped up, when teams are getting punched in the face at the offensive end, it's harder to shoot.
"That's what we talked about at halftime. They're not just going to miss. They're a really good basketball team. We've got to make them miss. That's what we've gotten away from in the last couple of games is playing hard enough on defense that they're shooting hard shots."