WILLIAMSTOWN — Three games into the 2021-22 season, the Williams College men's basketball team has yet to lose a game.
In those three games, the Ephs have had three different leading scorers and are averaging four players in double figures over that time. Which is a nice way for coach Kevin App's squad to get things rolling.
"The early practice [start] helped us to settle in to some roles a little quicker. I think that's what I'm pretty happy about," App said after Williams beat Salem State 77-62 in the final game of the Purple and Gold Classic Sunday afternoon. While it is not a formal tournament, since Williams and Salem had both won their games on Saturday, and since Williams won on Sunday, the Ephs are the de facto champions.
"Roles have become pretty clear pretty quickly, and guys' strengths and guys are doing a great job in that regard," he said. "That is the part that always takes some time with certain groups, but this group is really kind of understanding when they're on the court what they're supposed to do."
Spencer Spivy led all scorers with 17 points, and was one of four Ephs to score in double digits. Cole Prowitt-Smith had 11 points, giving him three double-figure games in three starts, while Nate Karren had 14 points and is now three-for-three with double-figure games. First-year Brandon Roughley added 11 points, giving him back-to-back double-digit outputs.
Belated final stattage from Williamstown. pic.twitter.com/IoHIkYedAI— Howard Herman (@howardherman) November 22, 2021
"We do have a balance to us, which is great," App said. "Balance in a lot of ways — size, skill level strengths, classes. We have some leadership coming off the bench in [senior Marc Taylor]. We haven't had that luxury every year."
Prowitt-Smith led the Ephs in scoring against SUNY-Oneonta and Karren led the way in the Purple and Gold win on Saturday against Curry.
On Sunday, Spivy had a big day all around. He was 5 for 8 from the floor, all from 3-point range, and was 2 for 2 from the line. He had a team-high eight rebounds and split team-high honors in assists as he and Declan Porter both had four. Spivy also had no turnovers.
"The two words I like for our team are depth and maturity," said Spivy, a junior guard from San Francisco. "We have the most balanced scoring every game, and you can see it. We also have a young team by class, but not by age. Most of our team has taken gap years. We have everyone within the range of 20 to 24, and it shows with balanced box scores like that."
The Williams College men's basketball team waited 633 days to open its season, and needed five extra minutes of overtime to win their opener 79-69 over SUNY Oneonta.
It was a wire-to-wire victory for the Ephs, who handed Salem State (4-1) its first loss of the season. Williams jumped out to a quick 14-2 lead in the first three-plus minutes of the game. Williams was pretty much on fire at the outset. The Ephs were 5 for 6 to open the game, and 4 for 4 from outside the 3-point arc. Karren started the scoring with a hook shot in the paint. Then Karren set up Prowitt-Smith for an inside-out 3-point shot. After Salem's Connor Byrne scored inside, Williams hit three consecutive treys to open up the double-digit lead. Jones, Declan Porter and Spivy all drained long-range shots. After Spivy caught a pass from Porter and scored in rhythm, Salem coach Chris Harvey had to call a quick time out.
The Vikings, did cut the lead to 10 points when Byrne scored with 3:11 left. The Ephs locked down over the last three minutes, outscoring the Vikings 8-0. And when Spivy hit another 3-pointer, it was 39-21 at halftime.
Josiah Green had six points to lead Salem at the break. Guard Sean Bryan, who scored 30 points against Williams in a 2018 loss to the Ephs, was held to three points in the half and had 15 in the game.
"We have size at different positions, so we want to use that length and use that size," said App, who had praise for the 6-foot-6 Jones defending against the 6-2 Bryan. "We have to keep getting better at it. We weren't perfect at it. That was the emphasis, showing bodies in gaps so that their really talented guards didn't feel like they could act like they were playing one-on-one."
Williams extended its lead to 67-37 just after the midpoint of the second half. The Vikings, playing against Williams' reserves, battled back thanks, in part, due to the spark off the bench from former Taconic standout Javier Osorio. Osorio played nine minutes, and scored eight points. He scored those eight points in four minutes during a second-half run that saw the Vikings cut the Williams lead to 74-62. But after Osorio scored, Prowitt-Smith hit a 3-pointer from the right corner, and that was that.
What was a 30-point lead has been cut by Salem to 74-62 with 2:20 left. Osorio has 8 points, and the Pittsfield based fans here are losing it, in a good way.— Howard Herman (@howardherman) November 21, 2021
"It was fun" to be back in Berkshire County, Osorio said after the game. "It was a great time, I was glad I was able to have all my family and friends come out because I'm all the way across the state.
"We didn't get the job done today, but it was good."
Osorio and his fellow former Taconic teammate Quincy Davis are on the Salem roster. Davis did not score in five minutes of play.
Things don't get a whole lot easier for Salem, who will play MIT a week from Wednesday and then play Tufts in the New England Big Four Challenge on Dec. 3. Babson and Brandeis are the other teams in that tournament.
For his part, Osorio said that playing a team like Williams can only help them prepare for those games and then they hope make a run in MASCAC. The Vikings are looking to get back to the NCAA Division III Tournament for the second time in three seasons.
"It opened a lot of holes for us, and I feel like we can learn a lot from this," Osorio said, "because [Williams] is a tournament team and this will help us move forward."