FREDERICKSBURG, Va. -- It's on to the NCAA Division III Elite Eight for the Williams College men's basketball team.
The Ephs weathered a second-half rally by Albertus Magnus before pulling away and beating the Falcons 110-92 in the first game of a Sweet 16 doubleheader at the University of Mary Washington.
Mike Mayer had his third straight NCAA tournament double-double, scoring 27 points and pulling down 16 rebounds. He was one of five Ephs to score in double figures in the game. Mayer missed only 3 of 10 shots from the floor and was 13 of 18 from the foul line. He also led the Ephs with 4 assists.
In tournament wins over Mitchell, Gordon and now Albertus Magnus, Mayer has averaged 22.5 points and 14 rebounds per game.
Williams plays tonight at 7 against the Mary Washington. Last year, it was a win over Virginia Wesleyan at Chandler Gym that propelled the Ephs to the Elite Eight in Salem. A win tonight will send Williams to its third Final Four in the past five seasons. If Williams is to go back, it will have to beat the home team that held off Virginia Wesleyan 74-70 in the nightcap. Bradley Riester had 23 points for Mary Washington.
For a time, the game was actually much closer than the final score indicated. After leading by as many as 20 points in the first half and 16 at halftime,
It was the third time this year the Ephs have scored in triple figures. Williams beat RPI 113-88 back in December.
The 110 points were the most scored by Williams in an NCAA tournament game since the Ephs beat SUNYIT 104-70 back on March 12, 2010.
Mayer wasn't a one-man force for Williams. Freshman Duncan Robinson scored 24 points while starters Daniel Wohl (16 points) and Taylor Epley (15 points) also scored in double figures. Hayden Rooke-Ley came off the bench to score 18 points. He made only two hoops in 40 minutes, but was 13 of 16 from the line. Rooke-Ley and Mayer made more free throws together (26) than Albertus Magnus attempted (21). In fact, the Ephs were 16 of 16 from the line over the final six minutes as the Falcons tried to foul to get the ball back.
As the second half opened, the Falcons chipped into the Eph halftime lead, and when Darius Watson scored on a layup with 7:40 left in the game, the 20-point lead was now just 83-76. Watson scored after Kyle Wiggins rebounded a 3-point miss by Daniel Wohl.
Williams coach Mike Maker called a time out after the hoop. Whatever he said or diagrammed worked like a charm, because Robinson hit a basket to start a 10-0 run. By the time the Falcons scored again, they were on their heels and unable to recover.
Eian Davis had a game-high 30 points for Albertus Magnus (28-3). Victor Ljuljdjuraj, the Falcons' leading scorer, was held to seven points on just 3-of-5 shooting from the floor. The Williams defense, combining man-to-man and zone looks, kept the ball away from him.