SPRINGFIELD — If the members of the Williams College men's basketball team do as well on this month's final exams and papers as they did on the court, they'll all be atop their respective class grade rankings.
That's because the 20th-ranked Ephs wrapped up the first semester with a perfect 9-0 record after handing regional rival Springfield a 74-61 defeat Saturday afternoon at Blake Arena.
First-year Declan Porter scored a career-high 24 points and was one of three Ephs in double figures. Cole Prowitt-Smith, who missed Thursday's win over Union with an illness, had 15 points, while Spencer Spivy added 14.
The win marked the sixth straight for the Ephs inside Blake Arena in the last 20 years. In fact, the only loss by the Ephs since 2006 came in 2019, when coach Charlie Brock's squad came to Chandler Gym and scored a 76-75 victory.
"We've had a long stretch, starting Oct. 15 and playing nine games. To get through that undefeated, it's hard to be anything but proud. What's exciting is we now have some time to get healthy and get our legs back under us a little bit," Williams coach Kevin App said after the game. "We keep talking about how we're playing well but I think we can get so much better. To win and know that you can keep improving is a great position to be in. I think this group has improved every week but has a long way to go to reach their potential."
It was a wire-to-wire victory for the Ephs, who weren't really threatened.
The Pride won the tip and Panayiotis Kapanides, who was one of three Springfield players to score 11 points, missed a 3-point shot. Prowitt-Smith pulled down one of his six rebounds and started the Ephs on the counterattack. Jovan Jones found Porter for a 3-pointer, the first of six made by the first-year forward.
Springfield answered with a layup by Zeke Blauner, but the Pride got no closer as Porter drained a second trey and Prowitt-Smith hit his first of three. It was 9-2, and less than two minutes had ticked off the clock.
Williams led by as many as 20 before going into the locker room up 46-29.
Springfield took that punch and came out swinging in the second half, as the Pride cut the 17-point lead to seven on three different occasions. Daryl Costa's 3-point hoop with 6 minutes, 22 seconds left made it 63-56, and fans in purple and gold were starting to sweat.
But on the next trip downcourt, Spivy hit a trey of his own. The dagger shot put Williams up 10, and the Pride never mounted another rally.
"The more this team has been out there competing together, I think we're seeing just more understanding of one another and trying to put each other in good situations. I think we did a great job with that tonight," said App.
After Christmas, Williams heads to Lexington, Va., to participate in the Washington & Lee Holiday Tournament. Williams will play York College of Pennsylvania (5-3) in the second game of a Dec. 29 doubleheader. In the opener, the host school will play Sewanee. W&L is 3-4 and Sewanee is 3-7. Sewanee is coached by former Williams player and assistant coach Brian Emerson.
The championship and consolation games will be played on Dec. 30.