Williams' late run ends season for VWC in NCAA tourney
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- Williams College's Ephs outscored Virginia Wesleyan College's Marlins 8-2 in a late three-minute span to open up a 77-72 lead en route to a 84-75 victory in an NCAA third round game at Williams Chandler Arena on Saturday.
Williams (26-4) advances to the NCAA quarterfinals in Salem, Virginia, with play beginning on Friday, March. 22. The Ephs will take on the winner of a game between Minnesota's St. Thomas University and Michigan's Calvin College.
Virginia Wesleyan, which ends its season at 23-8, lost for the second time in three years on the Williams' court in the third round. Williams, which has enjoyed the luxury of playing on its home court in the first three rounds in three of the past four years, is now 10-0 in NCAA play during that time at Chandler.
After trailing 40-39 at halftime, Virginia Wesleyan took the lead early in the second half and led throughout much of the competition in the half, but never by more than points. VWC led 64-58 following a pair of free throws by senior Chris Astorga (Suffolk/Virginia Beach Cape Henry Collegiate) with 8:58 remaining to be played.
James Klemm, Michael Mayer and Taylor Epley brought the Ephs back however, taking the lead at 72-70 on an Epley triple with 4:17 on the clock. Virginia Wesleyan tied the score on an Astora layup, but Epley returned the lead to Williams on a traditional three-point play.
Williams was able to build on its lead in the waning minutes, but held off Virginia Wesleyan which closed within five points twice in the closing seconds.
Astorga led five Marlins in double-figure scoring with 20 points. Senior Tre' Ford (Falls Church/J.E.B. Stuart) and junior Colby Heard (Virginia Beach/Tallwood) added 14 points each, senior Chris Teasley (Newport News/Menchville) tallied 12 points and junior DJ Woodmore (Virginia Beach/Landstown) scored 10.
Epley led Williams with 26 points, followed by Mayer with 23, Nate Robertson with 16 and Klemm with 13.
Williams hit 59.2% from the field, compared to 42.1% by Virginia Wesleyan. The Ephs hit 8-of-17 triples, while the Marlins connected on 6-of-22 attempts.
Virginia Wesleyan, which played in its ninth straight NCAA tournament, recorded its fourth straight 20+ win season and sixth in the last seven years.