Williams College men's basketball team tops Union, improves to 8-0 on year

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MIKE WALSH — THE BERKSHIRE EAGLE
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WILLIAMSTOWN — With one game left in the first semester, the second-ranked Williams men have done something the Ephs haven't done in a while.

Williams won its eighth straight basketball game Thursday night, — the first 8-0 start in eight years — as Williams pulled away in the second half to beat Union 87-70.

"In my time here, we've never been 8-0," said Kyle Scadlock. "We've never been here. We haven't been beating teams the way we have, and we hadn't been playing as a unit the way we have. We're having fun out there, so yeah, I'm really happy with how we looked out there."

This is the longest winning streak for Williams since the Ephs won 12 in a row during the 2012-13 season. It is also the longest winning streak to open a season since the Ephs won 13 straight to open the 2010-11 season.

If you believe in omens, in both of the aforementioned years, Williams advanced to the NCAA Division III Final Four. But with eight games down, there is still a lot of basketball to be played.

"Coach [Kevin] App said that throughout his entire coaching years as an assistant here and as a head coach, he had never been 8-0, and never had this long of a winning streak," Eph James Heskett said. "We're off to a great start, but we have a lot of work to do."

Scadlock had his third double-double of the season, scoring a game-high 25 points while pulling down a game-high 13 rebounds — with six on the offensive glass.

Heskett had 21 points, Bobby Casey had 16 and Matt Karpowicz had 10. Casey had seven rebounds and five assists. Michael Kempton came off the bench, and while he didn't score, he did pull down nine boards.

Williams led by as many as 18 points in the first half and by five at halftime. The Dutchmen (4-2) took a 52-51 lead five minutes into the second half when Temi George got inside the Williams defense and got a layup. Heskett responded for Williams scoring five of his team's next seven points as the Ephs retook the lead for keeps. Actually, George scored with 15:08 to play and Heskett put the ball home just five seconds later to put Williams up for good.

What made Williams' second-half performance so interesting was the fact that the three-point shot was not a big factor. Actually, Scadlock hit the only trey of the half for Williams, and that came with just under two minutes gone.

"They extended [the defense] and we were able to get to the rim a little bit," App said. "We made enough plays to win against a good team.

"It's a veteran group out there, so I think they know how to get the best available shots."

Nobody did that as well as Scadlock on Thursday night. The senior had 14 of his 25 points in the second half, as he helped the Ephs rally from Union's brief lead.

"I think his last three games have been his best three games of his career," App said, "just in terms of his poise and leadership out there. We moved him to the backcourt, and he's kind of relished and enjoyed it."

So, Williams might be the only Division III team with a 6-foot-7 off-guard.

"Me personally, going into this senior year, it's been about doing whatever I can to help this team win. At this point, I just want to win, win, win," Scadlock said. "He thought it would be best if I moved to the 'two.' I played point guard in high school, so I'm comfortable handling the ball. I've been very comfortable out there, but I'm still figuring it out a little bit. I like playing the two, and I think it's helped us win."

Williams used a 10-0 run midway through the second half to put the game away. Scadlock's drive to the basket, scoring over Union's 6-foot-8 center Brendan Laing and getting a three-point play, was the key moment in that run.

Jackson Mannix led Union with 20 points, while Laing added 16.

Union sophomore Jack Williams scored three points in 13 minutes off the bench. He is the son of former Williams College football standout Rich Williams.

Williams has one more game before final exams, and that is Saturday at Springfield.

The Pride will have defensive issues because Williams has had four players score in double figures in all eight games. Five times, four starters scored in double digits. The Ephs did it kind of an old-fashioned way. They were only 5 for 17 from three-point range, but 26 for 35 from inside the arc.

"I actually didn't know we made only one [three-pointer in the second half], and that's surprising," said Scadlock. "I think we can do it inside and out, and I guess we proved that today."

Howard Herman can be reached at hherman@berkshireeagle.com, at @howardherman on Twitter, or 413-496-6253.


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