WILLIAMSTOWN — Eight games into the 2021-22 season, the 20th-ranked Williams College men’s basketball team has yet to lose. To the Ephs, however, it feels like they haven’t really scratched the surface.
“It’s funny. We beat teams by 20 and we feel really dissatisfied,” Williams guard Spencer Spivy said after the Ephs rolled past Union 75-53 Thursday night. “I think that’s a sign of how much we believe in ourselves and the depth and talent that we have.”
It was a wire-to-wire win for the Ephs, who have yet to give up 70 points in a game this year. Jovan Jones had a game-high 16 points and was one of four Ephs, three starters, to score in double figures. Nate Karren had 15 and Declan Porter had 11, while Marc Taylor came off the bench to score 12 points in 19 minutes.
The Ephs put the game away with a 15-0 run midway through the first half, a run that turned a five-point lead into a 20-point advantage.
“It feels like the sky is the limit for us,” Karren said, “if we just put our heads down and get better every day.”
The 53 points were the second-fewest given up by Williams this year. The Ephs surrendered 50 in a win over Curry on Nov. 20. It is the fourth time in eight games that Williams has given up fewer than 65 points in a contest. The next time the Ephs give up 70 points in a game will be the first time.
Williams played without leading scorer Cole Prowitt-Smith, who missed the game with a non-COVID virus. Prowitt-Smith might be available for the first-half finale Saturday at Springfield.
The Dutchmen came into Williamstown off a loss to Vassar that ended a two-game winning streak. Early on, the Dutchmen appeared ready to hang with Williams in the center of the ring.
Williams scored the game’s first six points and led 9-2 before hoops by Justin Regis and Temi George cut the Williams lead to 11-6 with 14:04 to play.
The run started the next trip downcourt when Brandon Roughley caught a pass from Taylor and swished a 3-point shot, one where the net barely moved. Union’s Chris Lovisolo missed his 3-point shot, Roughley pulled down one of his four rebounds and Taylor drained a 3-ball off an assist from Spivy. Those were the first six of 15 unanswered points that turned the 11-6 lead to 26-6. Not even a time out by Union coach Chris Murphy could stop the run, and when Roughley drove to the hoop before dishing Brandon Arnold for an easy hoop, the Ephs were up by 20.
And when first-year Declan Porter hit back-to-back shots in the paint, Williams was up 40-12.
“To not have Cole and to not skip a beat, I thought the first half was some of the best offense and defense we’ve played,” Williams coach Kevin App said. “I think, for them, I think every basket they scored in the first half was hard and that’s really all we were trying to do. They’re a well-coached, tough-nosed program, and we knew they weren’t going to quit.”
“We stuck to our game plan,” said Karren. “Like I said before, we’re really deep. We have a lot of talented players, so I think that’s our main strength. We know Cole’s an amazing player, but we have guys on the bench who can step up.
In the second half, the visitors from Schenectady cut what had been a 24-point lead to 15 when Brian Noone — who finished with 12 points — scored off an inbounds play with 14:12 left. That made it 51-36.
Williams responded with six straight points, an old-fashioned 3-point play by Porter and a trey by Taylor, and the fans inside Chandler Gym exhaled.
It was a coming-out party for Porter. The 6-foot-7 first-year from Canton, N.Y., came in with the reputation of a spot-up, 3-point shooter. But in scoring his 11 points, he was 5 for 10 from the field but was 0 for 2 from outside the arc. Porter also had six rebounds, as he used his size to get to the basket.
“Declan, you have to remember how big he is. He used his size well,” said App. “That’s what he’s going to have to do, because when they label you a guy who’s a catch-and-shoot three [player], they’re going to take that away, just like any good team. To make them pay in other ways, through cut, through post-ups, through drives, it’s definitely a big step for him.”
Manley led Union with 15 points and Noone added 12. The rest of the Dutchmen combined for 24 points.
Manley 6-13 2-4 15, Regis 1-6 2-2 4, George 4-7 0-0 8, Noone 5-8 2-4 12, Caporale 1-4, 0-0 2, Ingoglia 0-0 0-0 0, McGarrity 1-3 2-2 5, Cepiel 0-1 0-1 0, Baptiste 1-3 1-4 3, Regis 0-0 0-0 0,, Lovisolo 2-9 0-0 4, Wilson 0-0 0-0 0, Samsen 9-1 0-0 0. Totals 25-55 9-17 53.
Moon 1-3 4-5 6, Karren 7-11 1-2 15, Spivy 1-6 2-3 5, Porter 5-10 1-1 11, Jones 6-7 3-5 16, Myers 0-0 0-0 0, Arnold 2-4 0-0 4, Roughley 2-4 1-2 6, Lee 0-0 0-0 0, Taylor 4-9 0-0 12, Glatzer 0-2 0-0 0, Kacmarek 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 28-56 12-18 75.
Halftime: Williams 42-22. 3-point goals: Union 2-17 (Manley 1-3, Regis 0-1, George 0-1, Noone 0-2, Caporale 0-1, McGarrity 1-2, Cepiel 0-1, Baptiste 0-1, Lovisolo 0-4, Samsen 0-1). Williams 7-16 (Karren 0-1, Spivy 1-4, Porter 0-2, Jones 1-1, Roughley 1-2, Taylor 4-5, Glatzer 0-1). Rebounds: Union 25 (Baptiste 4, Manley 4). Williams 43 (Arnold 8, Karren 7, Porter 6). Assists: Union 6 (Manley 2). Williams 12 (Karren 4, Spivy 2, Jones 2). Turnovers: Union 9 (Manley 3, Noone 3). Williams 12 (Karren 3, Spivy 3). Fouls: Union 19, Wiliams 13.