With three consecutive Colonial Athletic Association victories, William and Mary entered Charleston, S.C. on a hot streak that included knocking off 2015 CAA champion Northeastern as well as defeating Charleston Jan. 2 in Williamsburg, Va. The Tribe kept its streak alive, sweeping the Cougars for the regular season with a tight 63-61 victory Jan. 14 for the College’s fourth straight victory.
“It’s a nice road win,” head coach Tony Shaver told Tribe Athletics. “I told the players, it’s a sign of a good team to not play well in the second half, to unravel a little bit quite honestly, but to stand your ground … and [come] back to win the game.”
The College (12-4, 4-1 CAA) dominated the scoreboard for the first half, outscoring Charleston (10-6, 2-3 CAA) 33-18 after 20 minutes. The Tribe offense scored six times before the Cougars put any points on the board. Almost four minutes of clock ticked off before Charleston finally found the basket. The home squad wouldn’t hold the lead at any point in the first half, although the Cougars came close when a layup brought the score to 9-8 at the 12 minute, 40 second mark. After almost blowing the lead early, the Tribe tore up the court for the remainder of the half, taking as much as an 18-point lead with less than a minute before the break. Right before halftime, Charleston began to make a dent in the lead with a successful shot behind the arc, cutting the Cougar deficit to 15.
It’s a nice road win,” head coach Tony Shaver told Tribe Athletics. “I told the players, it’s a sign of a good team to not play well in the second half, to unravel a little bit quite honestly, but to stand your ground … and [come] back to win the game.”
Much of the first half scoring came from the bench, with 12 points for the Tribe compared to Charleston’s five. The battle in the paint was close throughout the first period with the College holding a slim advantage at 12-10. Close shooting and shots from range were dominated by the Tribe, which made 13 of 23 field goals and four of seven three-pointers. The Cougars went seven for 27 in field goals and made a lone three in 11 attempts. Additionally, Charleston had seven attempts from the charity stripe, but only made three, the same as the Tribe in just four attempts. The home team did hold the advantage in boards with 20 to the College’s 17 in the first half. Sophomore guard David Cohn led the Tribe’s early scoring with 10 points.
The second half started just as high energy as the first, both teams scoring in the first minute. After a Tribe layup by senior forward Sean Sheldon and a three from the Cougars, the teams began exchanging baskets as well as fouls that would become crucial in the final minutes of the game. The Tribe defense kept Charleston at bay from 17:50 until 15:03 with a scoring drought while William and Mary added eight to its lead, bringing the score to 45-27.
With 10 minutes remaining, the Tribe’s lead was cut to under 10 points for the first time in the half after a turnover resulted in a Cougar layup. Both teams then missed a three and a field goal each before they had technical fouls called on each side at 8:43. With junior forward Omar Prewitt shooting free throws, he sank both to bring the lead back into double-digits, the score at 52-42. Missed shots and fouls gave Charleston its chance to come back, and the Cougars pounced on the opportunity. With 6:41 on the clock, a three-pointer cut their deficit to five at 52-47. Senior forward Terry Tarpey relieved some of the mounting pressure on the College by making a pair of foul shots to end the run. However, the game would stay close for the remaining six minutes, Charleston drawing fouls and firing from the perimeter to take its first lead of the game. With 2:31 left the score was 59-58, the lead produced by a three that revitalized the home crowd. A pair of shots from the free-throw line made it a three-point lead at 1:34, and the following free throws from Cohn were off the mark. Prewitt drove into the Cougar paint after grabbing a defensive board for a layup to make it 61-60, the Tribe still down one point with 54 ticks remaining. The Cougars botched the ensuing possession with a poor shot, as Sheldon grabbed the clutch defensive rebound and proceeded to draw two fouls. Sheldon capitalized on the two crucial free throws to take the lead at 62-61 with 32 seconds remaining. A Charleston turnover with five seconds left forced the Cougars to continue fouling. Daniel Dixon walked to the line to take two free throws. He made the second after missing the first, making it 63-61. The Cougars attempted a long three as time expired, but it fell short as the Tribe picked up the victory.
Obviously we’d have like to have won by more,” Shaver told Tribe Athletics. “But any road win in the CAA is a great road win.”
“Obviously we’d have like to have won by more,” Shaver told Tribe Athletics. “But any road win in the CAA is a great road win.”
Charleston outscored the Tribe 43-30 in the second half, but the free throws saved the College’s second half performance, the team making 15 of 24 chances. Intermediate shots troubled William and Mary, the team shooting percentage dropping from 56 percent to 37 percent in the second half with only 7 of 19 made. From range, the Tribe went 1 for 6 in the second half while the Cougars went 7 for 14 beyond the arc, a sizable part of their comeback bid. Cohn led the Tribe with 15 points, while Tarpey, Sheldon and sophomore guard Greg Malinowski all reached double-digit scoring.
William and Mary’s next game is scheduled for Jan. 16 at North Carolina Wilmington, with tip-off at 2 p.m.