Hartford, Conn. - Senior captain Jaquann Starks (Hartford, Conn.) hit scored on a drive in traffic with six seconds left to lead the Trinity College Bantams to a 76-75 victory over the visiting Williams College Ephs in New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) men's basketball action this afternoon at Oosting Gymnasium. Trinity improves to 9-4 overall with its conference-opening win, while the Ephs fall to 8-5 overall and 0-2 in the NESCAC.
Trinity trailed, 70-67, with three minutes left after a put-back by first-year forward Kyle Scadlock (Twinsburgh, Ohio), but tied the score at 70-all at the two-minute mark on a free throw by senior captain Rick Naylor (Sudbury, Vt.) and a steal and two free throws by senior captain Shay Ajayi (Brooklyn, N.Y.). Ajayi made another steal and two more from the foul line to give the Bantams a 72-70 lead moments later, but a long three-pointer by Eph rookie guard Bobby Casey (Scranton, Pa.) with 43 seconds on the clock gave the lead back to the visitors at 73-72.
Trinity junior Ed Ogundeko (Brooklyn, N.Y.) missed inside for just the fourth time of the afternoon, but Starks and fellow senior captain Andrew Hurd (Windsor, Conn.) pressed the Williams guards up the floor, stole the ball, and pushed it ahead to Ajayi for a layup and a 74-73 Trinity lead with 16 seconds remaining. Ajayi was called for a foul with 13 seconds on the clock, and Williams sophomore guard Cole Teal (Chesterton, Ind.) drilled both free throws for a 75-74 Eph advantage to set Starks up for his heroics. Starks drove the middle of the lane and banked in a layup up and over the tall Williams frontcourt for a 76-75 Trinity lead, and came up with Trinity's fifth steal in a 2:13 span to put the game away.
In the first half, Trinity used an 8-0 run to take a 26-18 lead at the midway point but a traditional three-point play by Teal pulled Williams to within two at 40-38 with 1:31 left before the break. Ogundeko scored on a jumper and Starks drilled his only three-pointer of the contest to send the teams to the locker room with Trinity ahead, 45-38. Williams scored the first 10 points of the second stanza, including five by Scadlock, to go ahead, 48-45, five minutes after halftime. The Ephs remained ahead until a free throw by Naylor tied the score at 61-61 with 5:40 on the clock. A Casey layup gave the lead right back to Williams, and they held it until the closing minutes.
Ogundeko led all scorers with 21 points, including 17 in the first half, making nine of 13 shots from the field and adding a game-high 11 rebounds. Ajayi finished with 19 points, four rebounds, four steals, and three blocks, while Naylor scored 11 points, and Hurd dished seven assists. Scadlock paced Williams, which shot 53.7 percent from the field and 81.8 percent from the foul line, with 20 points to go with four rebounds. Casey notched 17 points and four boards off the Eph bench, while junior guard Dan Aronowitz (Columbus, Ohio) had 15 points and a team-high five boards, and Teal added 12 points and four rebounds for Williams.