Photo Gallery | Amherst at Williams College men's basketball
WILLIAMSTOWN — The Williams College men's basketball team fell behind in a big way early Wednesday night against arch-rival Amherst.
Every time Williams tried to come back against Amherst, the visitors came through with a clutch shot or a block and went on to beat the Ephs 71-50 at Chandler Gym.
"I'd say we were a little flat at our shootaround this morning. You've got to be able to be more prepared coming into every single game," said Williams forward Dan Aronowitz. "We didn't treat this one the same mentally as we do if we're playing Colby last week. We kind of felt antsy."
Amherst jumped out to a quick 16-4 lead on Williams and never let the lead get under 10 points the rest of the way.
The artists formerly known as the Lord Jeffs led by as many as 23 points with 13:11 left in the second half. And while Williams did cut into the lead, trailing by 14 with 5:15 left in the game, the Ephs could not get the lead to 10 or fewer points.
"It's very disappointing, especially in a rivalry game. There's nothing we can do about it now," said Williams freshman guard Bobby Casey. "We just have to try to come out and do better.
"The shots weren't falling [in the second half], and I think the frustration was starting to build. One thing led to another and the next thing you know, we're down 20."
Just how rough was it for Williams? The Eph offense went stone cold in the final 20 minutes. Williams made only 6-of-28 shots from the field, and for the game shot 31.6 percent from the floor. That was 14 percent below what Williams normally shoots in a game. The Ephs are also a 35-percent shooting team from outside the 3-point arc, and Wednesday, they shot at a 16.7 percent clip (4 for 24).
Teal had 15 points to lead Williams and Aronowitz chipped in with 13. For Amherst, Jayde Dawson scored 17, Johnny McCarthy had 16 and David George had 12.
"We looked like a team that played this game up too much," Williams coach Kevin App said. "Our freshmen looked nervous and anxious. We talked about its a learning experience throughout the season, and you have to treat every game the same.
"When you get into bigger games, nothing feels different. We looked like a team that things felt different to the guys on the floor."
It was the lowest scoring game against Amherst in more than a decade. Back on Feb. 4, 2005, Williams lost 72-45 in Amherst. The 50 points were the fewest scored by a Williams team since Feb. 14, 2015 against Wesleyan.
Amherst scored right off the opening tip when McCarthy drained a 3-pointer from the left wing. The visitors in black and purple upped the lead to 9-2 before Casey penetrated into the lane and threw up a teardrop that dropped through the hoop. That made the score 9-4.
Dawson responded with a 3-pointer from the top of the key to start a 10-3 run and give Amherst a 19-7 lead.
In the first half, it seemed like every time Williams appeared poised to make a run, Amherst would make a clutch shot. The final one came as the first half ended. Teal scored on a baseline drive with 32 seconds left, cutting the Amherst lead to 13. Dawson answered with a jumper just before the horn sounded, and it was 41-26 at halftime.
It's tough to come back from 15 points down. It's even more difficult when the team makes only six baskets in 20 minutes. That was the story for Williams in the second half. The Ephs made three of those six hoops in a five-minutes span in the second half, when they cut the Amherst lead to 56-42. But Williams scored only six points in the final 5:15.
"Every game is a chance to learn and grow, especially when you're playing with a majority of underclassmen, who are still going through a lot of experiences for the first time," said App. "We've known that all year and we've talked about that all year.
"Each day is just another day to grow and improve on certain things. This was an anomaly from where things were."