TRIBE 48, DREXEL 47
Let the madness begin.
The College of William and Mary (10-19, 5-13 CAA) continued its recent tradition of late-season, late-game heroics when junior forward Danny Sumner hit a three-pointer from the left wing with 29.5 seconds remaining to lift the Tribe past Drexel University 48-47 Saturday night at Kaplan Arena.
The College earned the 10-seed for the CAA Tournament with the win and will face 7-seed James Madison University Friday at 6 p.m. at the Richmond Coliseum.
“We weren’t going to give this game up,” said Sumner, who scored 13 points on 5 of 10 shooting, including 3 of 5 from three-point range.
Trailing 47-45 with 40.2 seconds left, Head Coach Tony Shaver called a full timeout, instructing his team to be patient and to put the ball in the hands of freshman guard Kendrix Brown.
Brown, who had multiple reads on the play, came off a ball-screen, set by senior forward Peter Stein, and looked at his options: junior forward Danny Sumner standing on the left wing on the weak-side and Stein rolling to the basket after setting the screen. Brown also could have called his own number and pulled the trigger from 15 feet, but Sumner was open.
“I was wide-open,” Sumner said. “I knocked it down from the same spot I hit the earlier two threes — left wing. I got some good looks over there.”
Drexel Head Coach Bruiser Flint used back-to-back timeouts to set up his team’s final play. Jamie Harris drove to the basket, but his layup came up short, banking off the glass and glancing off the front of iron and into Stein’s hands. Stein missed both of his free throws on the other end, giving Drexel one more opportunity to win. Drexel guard Scott Rodgers drove down the left side of the floor all the way to the baseline before launching a runner that bounced off the rim and out as time expired.
The Tribe trailed 47-43 at the 2:44 mark after Drexel guard Tramayne Hawthorne, who was 1 of 5 from distance up to that point, drained a three-pointer from the top of the key as the shot clock ran down.
Two Tribe possessions later, junior guard David Schneider aggressively drove the lane and hit a layup to cut the deficit to 47-45. Drexel had two chances to extend its lead to 4 or more points, but Leon Spencer missed an easy look under the basket and Hawthorne’s three sailed off course as well, setting the stage for Sumner’s game winner.
“It was really nice to see Danny make some shots,” Shaver said. “He looked confident shooting the ball tonight. Hopefully a play like that will get him back on track. It’s been a long time since he’s shot the ball with confidence.”
The Tribe led 35-25, its largest lead of the game, with 13:35 left thanks to long-range firepower. Freshman forward Quinn McDowell hit the team’s first three-pointer of the second half before Sumner followed that up with two treys. But Drexel rallied, using a 14-2 run to take a 39-37 lead with 8:02 remaining. Rodgers led the charge with 9 consecutive points, including a 4-point play, a trey and a layup. First, Tribe junior guard Sean McCurdy fouled Rodgers on his made three from the top of the key and Rodgers hit the free throw. Then Drexel ran the same play on its next trip down the floor and Rodgers connected on a three from nearly the same spot.
“We were trying to hold our composure,” Sumner said. “We’ve been in that same situation, where we’ve had leads and other teams made runs, but lately we’ve been doing a good job of responding to runs.”