WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Josh Jones and Eric Modica missed 3-pointers in the final seven seconds of overtime Friday night as fourth-ranked Williams College escaped with an 86-83 victory over Husson University in the first round of the NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Championship.
Coach Warren Caruso’s Eagles, the North Atlantic Conference champions, finished the season at 21-7.
Host Williams (26-2), of the New England Small College Athletic Conference, advances to Saturday night’s second-round contest against Becker (24-4).
Husson took the Ephs to the wire despite significant foul trouble. The Eagles wound up losing senior guard Jay Uhrin of Winterport to his fifth foul with less than three minutes to play in OT.
Husson shot 47 percent from the field, hitting eight 3-pointers, but Williams connected on 11 3-pointers and came away with a 25-17 edge from the foul line.
James Wang poured in a game-high 30 points, including 10 free throws, to pace the Ephs, who placed five players in double figures. James Klemm scored 12 points and Troy Whittington tallied 11, while Taylor Epley and Hayden Rooke-Ley added 10 points each.
Senior Jones of Jefferson capped his career with 32 points, including four 3-pointers and 10 foul shots, and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead Husson.
Uhrin finished with 16 points, while Modica and Daeshawn McMorrin posted 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Husson led 76-73 with 1:30 to play in regulation after a driving basket by Uhrin, but Klemm countered for Williams with a baseline drive and made the ensuing free throw to tie it with 1:07 left. The teams traded misses, before Luis Medina’s 3-point runner rimmed out at the buzzer.
Medina put the Eagles on top in overtime, but Wang answered with a conventional three-point play that gave the hosts the lead for good.
Uhrin fouled out on player-control foul, which led to a 3-pointer by Klemm and two Wang free throws that put Williams up 84-78 with 2:15 to play.
Husson ultimately could not close the gap.
The Eagles trailed 37-34 at intermission thanks to the dominating play of Jones, who scored 18 points on 6-for-10 shooting and snatched eight rebounds. Uhrin also provided nine first-half points.
Williams did much of its damage from the foul line. The hosts went 13-for-16 from the line with Rooke-Ley going 6-for-7 and Wang converting five of seven tries.
Husson bolted to a quick 7-0 lead in the game’s first 3 1/2 minutes and extended its advantage to 16-4 on a Jones layup at the 11:55 mark.
However, the Ephs responded with a 21-8 surge over the next 7 1/2 minutes to regain the momentum. Williams made eight foul shots during that run.