TRIBE 67, JMU 76
With only three conference games remaining, the College of William and Mary’s chances to improve its seeding for the CAA Tournament are slipping away.
The Tribe (8-17, 3-12 CAA) squandered its most recent opportunity when it lost 76-67 at James Madison University (17-10, 9-6 CAA) Saturday night.
Coming off an emphatic 69-40 rout of the University of North Carolina-Wilmington Wednesday, the College continued to show its improvement as a team, but old habits like surrendering first-half leads and failing to make plays late in the game proved costly once again.
“One break down the stretch and it could have been a really different ball game,” Head Coach Tony Shaver said Monday morning on the CAA coaches teleconference. “We had some shots that rattled in-and-out.
Those things that decide big conference games just didn’t go our way down the stretch.”
After leading by as many as 9 points in the first half Saturday, the Tribe managed only 11 points in the final 12 minutes of the half and entered the break trailing 32-29.
Just 9 seconds into the second half, freshman forward Quinn McDowell, who scored a career-high 20 points, hit a three-pointer to knot the game at 32-32. But JMU answered with a quick 6-0 spurt, eventually building its lead to 53-45 with 12:32 remaining.
Junior guard David Schneider, who finished with 18 points in 36 minutes, punctuated a 10-3 Tribe run with his fourth and final three-pointer of the game, which tied the score at 55-55 with 8:40 left. Over the next 3:30, the game remained a one-possession affair, providing the College with opportunities to take its first lead since the 6:58 mark of the first half. However, during that stretch, junior forward Danny Sumner’s three-pointer rimmed out and he missed another jumper on the next possession before slamming home a dunk to bring the Tribe within one point of the Dukes at 58-57. McDowell missed a three-pointer that would have given the College the lead, but JMU ran off 5 straight points to push its lead to 6 and regain control of the game.
In the final 5 minutes, the Dukes hit 13 of 14 free throws to ice the game. JMU guard Pierre Curtis, who matched teammate Kyle Swanston with 15 points, was perfect from the foul line, hitting all 11 of his free throws during the game.
Sumner came off the bench for the second consecutive game to score 12 points.
The College travels to Towson University tomorrow at 7 p.m. Towson defeated the Tribe 69-56 Jan. 28 in Williamsburg.