TRIBE 68, NORTHEASTERN 63
The College of William and Mary ended its seven game losing streak — and did so in stunning fashion.
Behind a career-high 19 points from freshman forward Quinn McDowell, who sparked his team out of the gate and iced the game for the Tribe at the free throw line in the game’s closing seconds, the College (7-15, 2-10 CAA) upset conference-leading Northeastern University (15-7, CAA 10-2) 68-63 Wednesday night at Kaplan Arena.
“I think we came out with a different intensity,” junior guard David Schneider, who had 18 points, said. “To beat a team like this at home, I think that really helps our confidence. We’ve had a lot of tough losses.”
The Tribe reversed recent poor shooting and defensive efforts against Northeastern, shooting 47.8 percent, committing only 11 turnovers and holding its opponents to 39.6 percent shooting — the third-best Tribe defensive performance in conference play.
“We’re concentrating on the little things in the game and not focusing so much on the result,” Head Coach Tony Shaver said. “Sometimes in the sporting world you focus on the end result, and you lose yourself a little bit.”
That concentration paid off during the Tribe’s 28-9 run which stretched through halftime and spanned almost 13 minutes, bringing the team from down six to up 46-33 with 11:58 remaining.
Junior forward Danny Sumner sparked the run with a full-extension dunk worthy of the highlight reel at the 4:57 mark in the first half, while McDowell put the finishing touches on the spurt when he hit two free throws.
“When you make shots, you’re a lot better team,” McDowell said. “At times previously in the season, we’d either be [at] one of two extremes: Either jacking up shots or being so passive you can’t make plays.”
Over the next five minutes, the Huskies’s 17-7 run cut the Tribe’s lead to 53-50. Unlike recent games when the College folded under pressure, the team answered back and clamped down defensively, holding Northeastern to just two points during a 5:42 span.
“I thought we were forced into way too many threes this evening,” Northeastern Head Coach Bill Coen said. “Twenty-six [threes] is a lot for us. We’re not a three-point shooting team like that. You have to give credit to their defense for limiting our touches around the basket.”
Northeastern fouled down the stretch and trimmed the Tribe’s lead down to 3 on three different occasions, but the College hit 11 of 17 free throws to seal its first win since Jan. 7.
“Momentum is only as good as your effort,” Shaver said. “If we don’t play hard the next game, that momentum won’t be with us.”
McDowell and sophomore forward Marcus Kitts (six points, six rebounds), whose emphatic jam electrified the crowd, jumpstarted the Tribe’s strong play.
McDowell’s reverse layup as time ran out gave the College a 28-26 lead entering halftime — its first lead at the break since Jan. 21 against Hofstra University.