If college basketball games were 20 minutes long, maybe William and Mary (7-18, 3-11 CAA) would have had a chance against Old Dominon. But the second half is when a team’s strength is tested and the Monarchs proved it was the stronger team Wednesday, outmuscling the Tribe en route to a 69-53 victory.
“We got beat by a very experienced, outstanding basketball team,” Head Coach Tony Shaver said. “I thought we played extremely well for the first 18 minutes of the first half, and the game got away from us a little bit right before halftime. And then I believe we had six turnovers in the first six minutes of the first half.”
The Tribe held on for the better part of the opening half despite the Monarchs’ nationally ninth-ranked defense hounding the College’s players into tough shots.
The Tribe held on despite ODU’s defense, ranked ninth nationally. Freshman guard Brandon Britt caught fire early, hitting a deep three and a pretty fade-away jumper from the free throw line to score the Tribe’s first five points. Boatner finished the night with 13 points and four assists on 5-of-14 shooting.
Unfortunately, ODU responded in the opening minutes with nine points of it own and held the lead for the remainder of the game.
“It was disappointing,” junior forward Quinn McDowell said. “The second half we just made too many mistakes, especially early on, and I’ll put that on myself. I had a couple turnovers coming out of the gate and that just really put us in the hole.”
Old Dominion was also able to outmuscle the College in the paint, out-rebounding the Tribe 44-21 while giving up only one offensive rebound on the night. Monarch center Frank Hassell finished with a game-high 23 points and 11 rebounds, while limiting Tribe senior center Marcus Kitts to only three points.
“We’re stronger,” ODU senior forward Frank Hassell said. “We’ve beaten them twice, but we’re basically just stronger than them down low.”
The College tried for a comeback late in the first half after sophomore guard Matt Rum hit a pair of free throws to cut the Monarchs’ lead to eight going into the half.
The Tribe committed eight turnovers in the first ten minutes of the second half, opening the door for ODU to go on a 16-7 run.
“We can’t play catch-up against those guys,” Shaver said. “We’re down 16, 18 points all of a sudden, and it’s hard to play catch-up.”
Maybe the only silver lining to the second half for the Tribe was the play of freshman guard Julian Boatner from beyond the arc. Boatner hit four-of-five three-pointers in the closing minutes of the half to lead the offensive attack.
Boatner led the College with 15 points, finishing his night with five three-pointers on six attempts.
“Credit goes to my teammates, they’re finding me when I’m open,” Boatner said. “I’ve been working after practice, getting extra shots up.”
Britt and McDowell each contributed 13 points in the loss.
“They’re strong,” Shaver said. “That’s the key to their success. I honestly think if Old Dominion shoots the ball as well as they did tonight, there’s nobody they can’t beat. I believe that.”