Men’s basketball: Bad trip
It’s been 26 days since William and Mary last won a game. Victory has eluded the Tribe ever since its 33 point rout of Salisbury University Dec. 21 and eluded the squad again Wednesday night.
The College (7-9, 1-4 CAA) saw a slim halftime lead disappear as Georgia State (7-11, 2-3 CAA) dominated the final minutes to win 74-58. The loss pushes the Tribe’s losing skid to six games.
In what has become a recurring trend, the College failed to produce defensive stops and offensive output late in the contest. Down by 12 with under a minute to play, the Tribe saw any chance of a rally vanish as Georgia State compiled a 6-0 run to effectively put the game out of reach.
The first half told a different story, however. With 14 minutes and 28 seconds remaining in the first, sophomore guard Marcus Thornton hit a fast break jumper to ignite an 8-0 Tribe run, including back-to-back Thornton buckets. Thornton finished an active night with 13 points, four assists, two blocks and three rebounds.
At the 3:01 mark, sophomore forward Tom Schalk scored a lay-up to extend the College’s lead to 13. Both the offense and defense ran efficiently and effectively, and coach Tony Shaver appeared to have his squad in good shape.
Georgia State clawed its way back into the contest before the half, however. A 10-1 Panther run was punctuated by Kevin Shaw’s three-point shot with less than 12 seconds before the half-time buzzer. Clinging to a five-point lead heading into the half, the College’s inability to put away opponents became painfully clear in the second half.
Georgia State hit eight of its first 10 shots of the second half, as the College’s lead quickly evaporated. The Panthers pulled into the lead as Rashaad Richardson hit a jumper with 14:40 remaining in the contest.
Georgia State never relinquished that lead, using a 10-0 run to push its lead into double digits. The Tribe fell behind as the game slipped out of reach, culminating in a 16 point defeat.
Georgia State shot 43.1 percent from the field, while the College converted 37.7 percent of its shots. The Panther’s missed only two free throws en route to shooting 92 percent from the free throw line.
Six consecutive losses since the win over Salisbury have soured an otherwise impressive start to the 2012-13 campaign for the Tribe. In that span, the College has suffered unbalanced scoring and poor bench play.
Junior forward Tim Rusthoven, who recorded his second double-double of the season and ended with 20 points and 10 rebounds, has partnered with junior guard Brandon Britt and Thornton to account for the vast majority of the College’s offensive output during the six-game skid.
In each loss, the trio has accounted for at least half of the College’s scoring. Rusthoven, Britt and Thornton score an average of 44.16 points per the last six losses. On five occasions, the trio has accounted for more than 61 percent of the Tribe’s points; three times the trio has scored over 72 percent of the team’s points.
While Rusthoven, Britt and Thornton have all increased their production, the bench players have seen a vastly different trend. During the six-game losing streak, the bench has averaged a meager 5.6 points per game.
The nine eligible bench players have scored just two points on two occasions, and only three in another game.
The College’s bench has not been alone in its unproductiveness. Starters not named Rusthoven, Britt or Thornton, have also struggled.
The lone starting senior, guard Matt Rum, has averaged only 5.5 points per contest in the slide. Junior forward Kyle Gaillard has scored an average of 8.8 points per game.
Rusthoven, Britt and Thornton have scored 265 points during the six game span. In contrast, the rest of the team has produced just 120 points.
The College will look to sort out its unbalanced scoring as they next take the court against Drexel at home Saturday.