WILLIAMSTOWN, MA - After falling to No. 8 in last week's poll, Williams men's basketball (8-1) regained the No. 7 ranking in this week's D3Hoops.com Top 25 poll. The move up the ladder comes as the Ephs found their stride entering the holiday break: The team has ripped off a seven game win streak that most recently included a 68-57 win over Springfield (6-3) and a 103-74 win over Keene State (6-2), in which the Ephs shot an astounding 63.6 percent from the field.
The Ephs are not without company from other NESCAC teams in the poll. Middlebury (7-0) is ranked No. 1 in the country, while Amherst (8-1) fell from No. 2 to No. 6 after suffering a 76-61 loss at the hands of Brandeis over the weekend.
Williams has started the season facing some adversity, as the team dealt with injuries to several key players, including injuries to guards Nate Robertson and Hayden Rooke-Ley that cost the pair the opening three games of the season.
"Overall, we gotta be happy to be 8-1 at the break, considering all the obstacles we've had in November and December," Williams head coach Mike Maker said after the team's win over Springfield. "We haven't had enough practices with our core guys that have been injured. The two guys that are conditioned and in rhythm – [Taylor] Epley and [James] Kelmm – haven't been injured."
Epley, a starting forward, is averaging 11.9 points per game on 52 percent shooting while pulling down a team-high 5.2 rebounds per game. Klemm leads the team with 13.8 points per game on 49 percent shooting overall and 50 percent shooting from three. The guard has hit 3.6 threes per game – the sixth highest number of any player in Div. III.
Pre-season All American guard James Wang and sophomore center Michael Mayer join Epley and Klemm in averaging double figures, scoring 12.3 and 11.8 points per game, respectively. Mayer has managed to score efficiently, hitting 69.5 percent of his shots from the field and 83 percent of his free throws. Wang is second on the team in assists, handing out 2.9 per game.
Robertson has quarterbacked the Ephs since his return, averaging 9.5 points and a team-high 4.5 assists per game.
As a team, Williams has managed to shoot 52 percent per game, good for sixth in the country, while holding opponents to 38 percent shooting from the field, putting the men at 22nd in the country. Nationally, the Ephs' scoring margin of 17 points per game is 17th. Particularly notable is the team's three-point shooting: The team is sixth in the country in three-point field goal percentage (44.7 percent) and seventh in the country in three-point field goals per game (10.2).
For more of the Ephs' statistics, click here.
The entire D3hoops.com rankings:
Through games of Sunday, Dec. 11:
|#||School (1st votes)||Rec||Pts||Prev.|
|2||Virginia Wesleyan (1)||6-1||560||3|
|10||Franklin and Marshall||9-0||392||11|
Dropped out: No. 17 Wheaton (Ill.), No. 22 William Paterson.
Others receiving votes: Edgewood 60, Washington U. 60, Wittenberg 60, Rhode Island College 53, Wheaton (Ill.) 52, William Paterson 35, Ohio Wesleyan 27, Western Connecticut 27, Grinnell 22, Bethany 21, St. Mary's (Md.) 18, Hardin-Simmons 16, Transylvania 14, Texas-Dallas 9, UW-River Falls 8, Rose-Hulman 7, Hobart 5, New Jersey City 4, Hartwick 1, Salem State 1.