Heading into Wednesday’s game against Towson, William and Mary’s early-season struggles could be characterized by two factors: a young and inexperienced starting lineup and shaky guard play.
For one night at least, freshmen guards Julian Boatner and Brandon Britt assuaged those concerns as two of the Tribe’s freshest faces provided a formidable backcourt tandem to help the squad dismantle the Tigers on the road, 83-68. The Tribe’s second straight victory moved its record to 6-12 overall and 2-5 in the conference.
“It was a pretty all around good game by our team,” Britt said. “It was really a complete game. We didn’t play as well as we could in spurts, but overall, I thought the team played well.”
Boatner, who recently earned a starting position, led the way for the College by scoring 22 points with an inspiring performance from behind the arc; the freshman made all but one of his seven attempts from three-point range. His six three-pointers tied him for the most ever by a Tribe freshman.
Britt, who was coming off a career-high 25-point outburst against Drexel, provided another impressive outing. Britt notched 16 points against Towson while serving up three assists and grabbing five rebounds.
“We take a lot of confidence out of these past two games,” Britt said. “Even though we have some freshmen, we can beat anybody, but we just have to keep it up. Consistency is key.”
Thanks in part to Boatner and Britt’s combined 38 points, the Tribe found itself in an unfamiliar position for the majority of the game — leading, in control and rarely challenged. Towson never led, and the College saw its lead balloon to 31 points.
As a team, the Tribe shot the ball exceptionally well. In a Princeton offense that often lives and dies by the three-pointer, the College sharpshooters rarely missed the mark. Six Tribe players had at least one three-pointer, and the team as a whole shot 51.9 percent from behind the arc, its highest percentage this season.
The Tribe also managed to take care of the ball against Towson by committing just 10 turnovers and minimizing ball control issues that had plagued the squad earlier in the season.
Perhaps the most interesting development concerning the Tribe’s victory was that it came without a stellar performance from junior forward Quinn McDowell. McDowell, the Tribe’s leading scorer and arguably its most important player, was finally able to sit back, provide 12 points and watch as two of the College’s younger players helped shoulder the scoring load.
On the defensive end, the College held Towson to a 45.6 percent shooting performance from the field. The Tigers shot poorly from behind the arc, including 0-for-6 from downtown in the second half, and could not match the College’s prolific scoring.
“[We have improved] our rebounding and toughness,” Britt said. “We focus on it every day, and it just a big part of who we are. It’s a really complicated defense, so we spend hours on it in practice and [Head Coach Tony Shaver] wants to be tough and make sure that we can communicate.”