Menlo School grad Blake Schultz is headed to the Final Four. The senior co-captain scored 29 points to help Williams College down Brandeis, 71-57, on its home court at Chandler Gym in Williamstown, MA in the NCAA Division III sectional final on Saturday.
Schultz, the NESCAC Player of the Year, and Josten's Trophy winner, also grabbed seven rebounds as the Ephs (29-1) added to their ongoing school record in-season win streak of 20 games.
Williams meets Guilford (30-2) in one of the national semifinals Friday at 5 p.m. in Salem, VA. Wisconsin-Stevens Point and Randolph Macon meet in the other semifinal.
Gunn High grad David Riley scored 15 points and grabbed five rebounds but Whitworth University fell to Eastern Mennonite University, 74-71, at Guilford College's Regan-Brown Fieldhouse in Greensboro, N.C. on Friday in the NCAA Division III sectional semifinals, or the Sweet Sixteen.
The fourth-ranked Pirates saw their school-record 25 game winning streak come to an end but finished 26-3, tying the 1996 team for most victories in school history.
Riley, a junior forward, hit a 3-pointer with 4:14 to go in the first half to give the Pirates had a 34-24 lead, their largest of the game.
Eastern Mennonite recovered and trailed, 39-37, at halftime.
In Williamstown, the Ephs make their fifth trip to the Final Four, most of any Division III team. The Ephs are 5-3 at the Final Four in Salem; the team came in third in 1997 and 1998, claimed the NCAA title in 2003 and came in second in 2004. Williams is now 29-9 in NCAA tournament play.
Williams, the top-shooting team in D-3 fronm the field and from beyond the arc, shot 46 percent against Brandeis. James Wang added 18 points.
Wang and Schultz, with 518 and 570 points, respectively, are the first pair of Ephs both to score more than 500 points in a season since Michael Nogelo '98 (599) and Matt Hunt '99 (530) in 1998.
The teams traded baskets as the game began, but Brandeis soon pulled ahead, taking a 21-12 lead with 11:11 to play in the half as Williams could only find the basket on five of thirteen early attempts. The nine-point deficit was the largest the Ephs had faced in the post-season, including the NESCAC tournament.
Then the Ephs started to find their offensive rhythm and fought their way back into the game, as the team went on a 14-4 run and took its first lead of the game with 4:41 to play.
"They gave us punch early; they were a good team and they came out strong," Schultz said. "We stepped up on defense and our post offense was huge. That's really what helped us come back."
The Ephs iced the game behind Schultz, who scored 8 of the team's final 14 points and went 6-6 from the line for Williams to claim the victory.
"We were able to pull away because of our defensive intensity and because we paid attention to the scouting report," said Schultz. "We struggled with that sometimes this season, and I think we really stepped up at the end of the floor. It's a testament to how hard and gritty we can play."