Williams College opened the second half on a 23-9 scoring run, breaking open a close game en route to an 86-60 victory over Husson University of Bangor in an NCAA Division III men’s basketball first-round game on Friday night at Williamstown, Mass.
The 19th-ranked Ephs (21-6) advance to play Gwynedd Mercy, a 73-65 winner over Plattsburgh in Friday’s early game, in a second-round contest on Saturday.
Coach Warren Caruso’s Eagles, the North Atlantic Conference champions, wind up 18-10.
Williams of the New England Small College Athletic Conference utilized its superior height and length to overcome Husson. The Ephs went 31-for-59 from the field (53 percent) for the game and also made 17 of 24 free throws (71 percent).
James Heskett paced a list of four players in double figures for the winners with a game-best 19 points, including four 3-pointers, while 6-foot-8 Matt Karpowicz posted 17 points and five rebounds. Bobby Casey contributed 16 points and four assists, Kyle Scadlock logged a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, and Henry Feinberg added eight points for Williams.
D.J. Bussey led the Husson offense with 13 points and Bruce St. Peter provided eight points and four rebounds. Justin Martin (6 rebounds) and Justice Kendall netted seven points each.
The Ephs shot a sizzling 70 percent in the second half, making 19 of 27 field-goal attempts. That included 5-for-9 shooting from the 3-point arc. Heskett scored 13 points and Casey tallied 12 after intermission to fuel the surge.
Williams led 37-30 when it began to pull away early in the second half. Heskett sank two free throws, then drained a 3-pointer, before Feinberg made one foul shot to push the Ephs’ lead to 43-30 just 3 1/2 minutes into the period.
Casey and Heskett then sandwiched 3-pointers around a layup by St. Peter, but Kendall’s layup kept the Eagles within 15 at 49-34. Five more unanswered points put the Ephs up by 20 with 13:26 remaining and Husson never got closer than 17 points after that.