Men’s basketball: College falls at Old Dominion, 69-62

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William and Mary suffered a tough loss against long-time rival Old Dominion University, losing 69-62 Monday night in Norfolk, Va.

The game opened with a five point run for the Tribe (6-4), but the lead was erased quickly by an 11-2 run by Old Dominion (10-1). Senior guard Marcus Thornton and sophomore guard Daniel Dixon dominated the court for the next couple minutes as they put up a combined 18 points, giving the College a 20-17 lead at the midpoint of the first half.

The Monarchs answered with a 10-2 run, accomplished via strong defensive coverage that led to defensive rebounds. Old Dominion led the Tribe, 31-26, entering halftime.

After the break, the College returned to the court looking to take the lead. Junior forward Sean Sheldon attempted a promising shot, but the ball was swatted down by Old Dominion’s Jonathan Arledge, igniting the crowd.

Junior guard Terry Tarpey then stole the ball and missed a shot, but Tribe head coach Tony Shaver disagreed with the referees about the legitimacy of Old Dominion’s rebound. A shouting match ensued, earning the College a technical foul within the first minute of the second half.

The Tribe took the lead at 34-32 with a six point run over the next couple minutes, routing the Monarchs on both sides of the ball by forcing turnovers and staying consistent in shooting. The crowd grew silent as the lead shifted, but Old Dominion rallied to take the lead with 13 minutes remaining with a three-point shot, giving the crowd an immediate boost in interest as the Ted Constant Center gained volume.

The College’s defense was centered in the paint with loose man-to-man coverage on the Old Dominion offense; despite this, the Monarchs were faster and able to work through the Tribe’s formation.

The Tribe, down 37-34, tied the game at 37 and again at 39, but lost the lead for the remainder of the gameas the Monarchs went on a 13-1 run midway through the second half. To the dismay apparent on the Tribe players’ faces, the crowd of 7,700 roared with each shot. The College’s comeback bid fell short due to missed foul shots and risky three-point shots in the final minutes of the game, resulting in the 69-62 final score.

Offensively, the Tribe shot 21 of 46 from the field and nine of 23 from beyond the arc. Despite Thornton, Dixon, and sophomore forward Omar Prewitt each putting up at least 15 points, the College’s sloppy shooting allowed Old Dominion to gain 26 defensive rebounds. The Tribe managed just three offensive rebounds. However, as Old Dominion owns the No. 18 scoring defense in the nation, the Tribe’s struggles are understandable — the College has the No. 134 scoring offense in the country.

Defensively, the Tribe had three steals and 21 defensive rebounds, but the effort was not enough to stop Old Dominion from controlling the game. The College’s defense was centered in the paint with loose man-to-man coverage on the Old Dominion offense; despite this, the Monarchs were faster and able to work through the Tribe’s formation. Overall, Old Dominion proved a much more challenging opponent than last season, when the Tribe posted a 74-68 victory over the Monarchs.

With the loss, the College falls to 6-4. All four losses have been on the road.

The Tribe heads to Chapel Hill, NC, to face No. 20 University of North Carolina Dec. 30. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. and will broadcast on ESPN3.