Men's Hoops Falls In NESCAC Title Game

February 28, 2010

Middlebury saw its hope of a second straight NESCAC Championship come up short, as they fell at Williams 64-56 in the title game. The second-ranked Ephs improve to 26-1 on the season, while the sixth-ranked Panthers fall to 24-3. Williams earns an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, while Middlebury is expected to get an at-large bid when the pairings are announced on Monday.

Williams opened the game with a 10-0 run, extending its lead to 30-11 with 6:51 left in the first half. Middlebury battled back, going on a 17-6 run to cut the lead to 36-28 on a pair of free throws from Jamal Davis with 44 seconds remaining in the half. Joe Goeghegan hit the last bucket of the session to give the Ephs a 38-28 advantage at the intermission.

A three from Jake Wolfin early in the second half cut the Williams lead to 40-33, while a bucket from Ryan Sharry made it a 45-40 game with 13:30 remaining. Trailing 49-44 at the 10:33 mark, the Panthers saw the Ephs go on a quick 5-0 spurt to regain a 10-point lead at 54-44.

Middlebury would not go away, continuing to chip into the lead, cutting it to 60-56 on a bucket from Sharry with 1:30 remaining. The Williams defense held, as James Wang hit 4-4 free throws in the final 28 seconds to seal the victory.

The Panthers made just 7 of 17 (.412) free throws in the game, shooting .344 from the floor and 7-23 (.304) from behind the arc. Williams shot .442 from the floor, an impressive feat against the Middlebury defense, which leads the nation with a .362 FG% defense.

Four Panthers were in double figures in the game, led by Sharry with 13 points. Wolfin, Tim Edwards and Andrew Locke each added 11 in the game. Edwards and Sharry each grabbed seven boards, while Locke had four blocks. With the first of his game-high four steals, Edwards became the school's all-time leader with 190, surpassing John Humphrey's ('85-'88) mark of 194.

Wang was the lone Eph in double figures netting a game-high 19, while Geoghegan added eight points and a game-high 15 rebounds.