Williams men's basketball team bounces back from Friday loss with win over Bates
WILLIAMSTOWN — Mission accomplished.
The Williams men's basketball team went scoreless for the final six minutes in Friday's loss at home to Tufts. Saturday afternoon, Williams bounced back with a solid victory.
James Heskett had a team-high 23 points, and was one of five Ephs to score in double figures as the nation's fourth-ranked men's basketball team beat Bates 79-68 at Chandler Gym.
The Ephs (12-3, 3-1) led by as many as 27 points in the second half before taking their foot off the proverbial gas.
"After suffering kind of a grueling loss Friday night, today was a big character test," Williams guard Bobby Casey said. "The main thing was to have fun.
"That was the main objective."
Casey finished with 19 points and was 5 for 8 from outside the 3-point line. Mike Greenman, Cole Teal and Matt Karpowicz all had 10 points each. Karpowicz finished with a team-best 11 rebounds.
"I thought we played well. I don't think there was any bad stuff," Williams coach Kevin App said. "It's a basketball game, so sometimes there are going to be turnovers. The other team is trying to win, too. I'm proud of our guys.
"These Saturday games are, especially when you play in a hot gym against a good team [Friday] and it comes down to the wire and you leave it all out there Friday night, to respond and make a run when you need to, to pull out a win."
There were five lead changes and two ties in the first 10 minutes of the game, and the visitors held a 27-23 advantage after Jeff Spellman hit a 3-point basket with 7:42 left. From there, the Ephs got rolling.
Mike Greenman made 1 of 2 from the line and Casey followed that up by scoring on the putback of his miss. It started a 13-4 run to the end of the half that gave Williams a 40-31 lead.
If the Bobcats (8-8, 1-3), who dropped an 82-76 decision at No.16 Middlebury Friday night, had any hope of getting back in the game, Williams quashed it out of the gate in the second half. Greenman splashed a 3-ball to start a 26-8 run that gave the Ephs a 20-point lead.
Casey made four of his five 3-point shots in that eight-minute run during the second half. Three times, he scored off of catch-and-shoot passes from guard Chris Galvin, who had a game-high five assists.
"We were a little stagnant offensively at times [Friday], and our pace was a little slow. [Today] that was kind of a focus," said Heskett, "coming out, moving out, playing with pace, hitting open shots, open layups and making threes. We kind of shored that up."
Henry Feinberg's dunk with 12:12 left to play in the game put the exclamation point on the victory. It gave Williams a 68-41 lead, and while the Bobcats got to within a dozen late in the game by making four 3-point baskets, the Ephs had the victory.
While Friday's loss ended a four-game losing streak, Saturday's win made sure that Williams did not lose two straight. The Ephs have not done that this year.
"It's NESCAC play. There are a lot of good teams, and you have to give your best every night," said Heskett. "We'll move forward from this one. We have a big one coming up on Wednesday against Amherst."
Howard Herman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, at @howardherman on Twitter, and 413-496-6253.
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