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No. 2 Williams tops men's hoops in NESCAC semifinals

Brian Ellis '11 scored 14 points in the Bobcats' season finale.

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- Top-seeded Williams used an 11-point burst in the second half to turn back upset-minded Bates 71-48 Saturday afternoon in a NESCAC semifinal contest played in Chandler Gym.

Bates junior Alex Gallant (Bangor, Maine) hit a jumper to bring Bates within five, 42-37, with 12:59 to play, but Williams turned up the defense and the offense and opened up a 53-37 bulge off of layups by James Wang and Nate Robertson and dunks by Troy Whittington and Blake Schultz.

The 25-1 Ephs, ranked No. 2 in Division III, won for the 16th straight time as Wang let all scorers with 20 and Schultz added 15. Gallant (11) and junior Brian Ellis (Braintree, Mass.), who netted 14 points, were the Bobcats' top scorers on the day. The Bobcats finish the season with a record of 14-12.

Both teams struggled from beyond the arc on the day, with each making 1 of 14. Senior sharpshooter Marshall Hatch (Chicago, Ill.) was unsuccessful on seven attempts from long distance.

Williams led on the glass 37-34, with Joe Geoghegan grabbing seven. Bates’ leading rebounder was Ellis, who also snared seven.

Williams hit on half of their floor shots on the day, making 28 of 56, while the Bobcats were successful on 22 of 62 for 35.5%.

Williams will play the winner between Middlebury and Colby tomorrow at noon at Williams for the NESCAC title and the NCAA automatic bid that comes with the title.

Williams led 32-23 at the half on the strength of dribble penetrations for layups by James Wang that resulted in 12 points on 5-6 shooting from the floor. The Ephs also received eight points from Schultz.

Williams hit on 12 of 24 field goals in the half, but was an uncharacteristic 0-8 from three. Bates connected on 11 of 34 floor attempts and was 0-7 from three. Gallant led the Bobcats with seven points and Ellis added 6.

The game marked the final appearance in Bobcat garnet for seniors Neil Creahan (Hingham, Mass.), Dave Curley (Bolton, Mass.), Hatch, Jimmy O'Keefe (Lexington, Mass.) and Sean Wirth (Barrington, R.I.).

BOX SCORE: Williams 71, Bates 48