After averaging over 75 points in its last three games, it figured to be a cold day in hell before William and Mary (6-14, 2-7 CAA) would make only three three-pointers in a game.
As it turned out, it only took a cold night in Boston.
The Tribe made a mere three three-pointers, all in the second half, en route to a 70-67 defeat at Northeastern Monday. It was the third time this season the College has failed to make more than three baskets from beyond the arc.
“We were 0-for-10 [from the three-point line] in the first hal,f which I thought was the real key to the ballgame,” Head Coach Tony Shaver said. “We were just not making shots early, and they made shots.”
Junior forward Quinn McDowell led the College with 22 points. Freshman guard Brandon Britt scored 13 points in the defeat.
After allowing the Huskies to extend a 13-point halftime lead to 18 points, the Tribe was able to fight back and cut Northeastern’s lead to nine with 5 minutes, 32 seconds remaining on a layup by freshman forward Tim Rusthoven.
The teams then traded baskets before a three-pointer from Northeastern guard Chaisson Allen bumped the Huskies’s lead back to 10.
It would stay there until a McDowell three-pointer and a pair of free throws from senior center Marcus Kitts made the score 65-59, Northeastern. Allen made one-of-two free throws before McDowell hit both ends of a one-and-one to make it a two possession game.
A Rusthoven layup would make the score 67-63 with 16 seconds remaining, but the College could not get the three-point basket it needed to pull ahead.
“We just can’t play 20 to 30 minutes of basketball, especially on the road,” Shaver said. “I thought we started with very little energy tonight ,which surprised me.”
McDowell kept the Tribe in the game as best as he could in the first half, as the junior scored 11 of his 22 total points in the first period. But the College did not have an answer for Northeastern guard Joel Smith, who scored 14 first-half points to help the Huskies reach halftime with a 38-25 lead.
Coming off Saturday’s game in which the Tribe limited Hofstra to only 67 points, Shaver said he was disappointed in his team’s defensive effort to begin the game.
“I go back to the lack of energy early in the ballgame,” Shaver said. “That is something we can control — and we can have every night wherever we are playing — and we didn’t have it tonight.”
A driving McDowell layup made the score 6-4 with 16:17 remaining in the half, but the Huskies scored five quick points, forcing Shaver to call a 30-second timeout. McDowell would score off a pass from Brandon Britt to cut Northeastern’s lead to 22-13 with 9:53 remaining in the half, but the College would get no closer in the half.
Making matters worse, the Tribe went 0-for-10 from the three-point line in the first half while allowing Northeastern to make five three-pointers of its own. Usually a good three-point shooting team — the College entered Monday’s contest shooting 35 percent from beyond the arc this season — Shaver’s club could not buy a three-point basket in Northeastern’s cold gym to start the ballgame.
The head coach will have to hope his squad finds its stroke from deep as it returns home to take on Delaware this Wednesday.
“It is a game we should we win — we really believe that,” Shaver said. “They’re having a magical year … but we’re looking forward to playing them.”