Riding a four-game winning streak that had rekindled faint talk of an at-large bid, William and Mary traveled north Friday, looking to bolster its tournament resume in a nationally televised ESPN Bracketbusters matchup. Against a tough Iona (20-8, 11-5 MAAC) squad, that didn’t happen, as the Tribe (19-8, 11-5 CAA) turned in a lackluster performance with a 69-53 road loss.
“We didn’t knock down shots, they were really hot, and they’re a good team,” sophomore guard Quinn McDowell said. “They just outplayed us tonight.”
After jumping out to a 17-13 lead, the Tribe went nearly six minutes without scoring, and trailed 36-23 at halftime. The College did not score for the first three-plus minutes of the second half, giving the Gaels a chance to push the lead to 44-23. The squad was able to cut a 26-point deficit to 12 with 56 seconds to play, but that was as close as they would get.
“Anytime you play a team like that, you have to keep them from going on big runs, and we didn’t make any big runs of our own,” senior guard David Schneider said. “When teams shoot like that, it’s tough to stop.”
Scott Machado led the Gaels with 17 points. Alejo Rodriguez and Jonathan Huffman both added 12. Machado and Huffman each hit three shots from beyond the arc. The Tribe was beaten at its own game, shooting only 6-for-21 (28.6 percent) from three-point range, while Iona was 9-for-21 (42.9 percent).
Schneider led William and Mary with 17 points, Quinn McDowell added 12 and Danny Sumner chipped in 10. Inconsistent scoring — including a 36-6 run — and poor free throw shooting (56.6 percent) contributed to the loss.
“They played great and we didn’t, but we’ll regroup this weekend,” Head Coach Tony Shaver said. “This team has had a great season, and we’re going to have a great finish as well.”
While the loss may have damaged the College’s at-large hopes, losing to an out-of-conference opponent will not hurt the Tribe in its effort to get a first-round CAA tournament bye. The team still has a chance at a top-four spot on Wednesday, when they take on last place Towson at Kaplan Arena.
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