Men's basketball edges Williams in NESCAC thriller

Kena Gilmour '20 glides in for a layup Friday night against Williams in the Continentals' 79-78 NESCAC win over the Ephs (Josh McKee photo).
Kena Gilmour '20 glides in for a layup Friday night against Williams in the Continentals' 79-78 NESCAC win over the Ephs (Josh McKee photo).

Hamilton College's Kena Gilmour '20 posted a double-double and the Continentals rallied for a 79-78 NESCAC win against the Williams College Ephs at Hamilton's Margaret Bundy Scott Field House on Friday night.

Hamilton (11-2, 1-0 NESCAC) received votes in this week's D3hoops.com Top 25 poll. The Continentals trailed 35-23 at the break and was down by as many as 16 points midway through the second half. Hamilton scored 18 points off 14 Williams turnovers, and the Continentals' 19 offensive rebounds helped lead to a 46-38 advantage on the glass.

The Ephs (6-6, 0-1) were 11 of 25 from 3-point range but lost for the fifth time in their last seven games. Williams held the lead for nearly 37 of 40 minutes.

Gilmour poured in 28 points, grabbed a season-high 11 rebounds and handed out four assists. He's second in the conference in scoring with 23.4 points per game. Eric Anderson '22 dropped in a career-best 16 points off the bench, Mark Lutz '20 chipped in 10 and Nkosi Cooper '23 added eight. Nick Osarenren '22 had five of Hamilton's 12 steals and blocked two shots.

Cole Prowitt-Smith paced the Ephs with 25 points in 25 minutes off the bench. Spencer Spivy contributed 14 points on four 3-pointers and pulled down seven boards. Six-foot, 8-inch center Matt Karpowicz registered 12 points and six assists and Alex Stoddard scored 10 points.

Williams led by 10 points at 71-61 after Mickey Babek drained a 3-pointer with 4:36 left. The Continentals went on a 16-2 run at that point and took the lead for good.

Two free throws by Lutz started the spurt and Anderson passed to Cooper for a jumper that made it 71-65 with 3:09 remaining. Two free throws by Karpowicz put the Ephs back up by eight 19 seconds later, but a jumper by Gilmour and an offensive rebound and putback by Cooper pulled Hamilton within four points at 73-69 with 1:32 to go.

Williams missed a free throw and Gilmour came back and knocked down a shot from beyond the arc with 1:24 left. After the Ephs misfired on their next trip down the court, Gilmour found an open Anderson in the left corner for a 3-pointer that put the Continentals in front 75-73 with 35 seconds remaining. Williams committed a turnover on its next possession and was forced to foul. Anderson made both free throws for a four-point lead with 18.2 seconds to go.

Prowitt-Smith converted an old-fashioned 3-point play with 10.1 seconds left and the Ephs were within one at 77-76. Hamilton seemed to be in great shape after Williams committed an intentional foul with 8.5 seconds remaining and Gilmour sank both free throws, but the Continentals turned it over on a five-second violation when they tried to inbound the ball.

Hamilton fouled Prowitt-Smith to prevent the Ephs from attempting a game-tying 3-pointer and he made both free throws with 5.7 seconds to go. The Continentals were clinging to their one-point lead as Gilmour was fouled again with 4.8 seconds left. He missed both free throws but Prowitt-Smith's desperation heave from around half court came up short of the basket. Gilmour finished with 20 points in the second half.

In the first half Cooper gave Hamilton a 5-4 edge on a jumper with 16:49 remaining. Prowitt-Smith followed with a pair of 3-pointers and Williams led the rest of the half. The Ephs led by 12 points on two occasions in the opening 20 minutes. Two free throws by Henry Feinberg made it 29-17 with 5:58 to go and two shots at the charity stripe by Spivy gave Williams a 35-23 advantage with 51 seconds left.

The Continentals host nationally ranked No. 3 Middlebury College for another NESCAC contest on Saturday, Jan. 11 at 3 p.m. The Panthers suffered their first loss in 14 games this season with an 81-69 setback at Amherst College on Friday.