Williams came back from an 18-point deficit early in the second half to earn a 64-61 road win at Middlebury (12-6, 3-2) on Friday night. The 11th-ranked Ephs (16-3, 5-1) took their first lead since the opening bucket with just 39 seconds remaining. The Panthers return to action on Sunday at Hamilton, while Williams visits Stevens on Tuesday.
The first half saw back and forth action up and down the floor with few whistles throughout the first eight minutes off play. The first foul of the half was not called until 8:16 into the contest.
The Panthers jumped out to a 9-4 lead in the game’s first 3:05, extending their lead to 16-7 on a three from Dylan Sinnickson at the 14:22 mark. Williams battled back, scoring 11 of the next 13 points to tie the game at 18 apiece on a hoop from Daniel Wohl with 10:11 remaining.
Middlebury answered with a run of its own (11-3), as threes from Sinnickson, Matt St. Amour and Hunter Merryman gave them a 29-21 advantage with 7:10 remaining in the first half.
Leading by six (31-25) with 4:56 remaining, the Middlebury defense held Williams scoreless for the remainder of the half. A key block by Sinnickson on one end of the floor led to him knocking down a three on the ensuing possession. He buried his fourth from long range with 37 seconds remaining to give the Panthers their largest lead of the half at the intermission, 41-25.
Middlebury led by a game-high 18 points on a bucket from Sinnickson 30 seconds into the second half, 43-25. Williams followed with a 10-2 spurt behind a pair of threes from Mike Greenman to make it a 10-point game.
The Panther lead hovered around the 10-point mark for much of the second half, leading 57-45 on a three from Jake Brown with 7:13 remaining.
The Ephs answered once again, this time with a 10-0 run to cut the lead to 57-55 with 3:54 remaining on a trey from Taylor Epley. The Panthers led by four when Epley struck again from the top of the arc, bringing Williams within one at 61-60 with 1:40 remaining.
A Panther turnover and a pair of free throws by Michael Mayer gave Williams its first lead since the opening bucket, 62-61 with 38.7 seconds left.
Middlebury missed a three on the other end before Daniel Wohl knocked down a pair from the charity stripe to give the Ephs a 61-64 advantage with eight seconds remaining.
The Panthers had a good look to tie the game following a timeout, but Sinnickson's three from the right wing missed as time expired.
Sinnickson led Middlebury with 16 points and eight boards, while Merryman scored 15 and Jack Roberts grabbed eight rebounds with eight points. Brown added seven points, five rebounds and five assists, while Joey Kizel recorded a game-high eight helpers.
Epley led all scorers with 19 points, followed by Mayer with 15 and seven boards. Wohl finished with nine points and five assists for the Ephs, who connected on 10-22 (.455) from behind the arc.
Middlebury went just 3-6 from the line in the game, while Williams was 14-15.