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Men’s basketball: College overwhelmed by Towson 99-82 to conclude disappointing week

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February 15, 2016

11:14 PM

Following his club’s 76-69 home loss to Towson earlier this season, William and Mary head coach Tony Shaver told Tribe Athletics that the College “got punked,” referring to the Tribe’s inability to match the Tigers’ intensity and physicality on both ends of the floor. Heading into the game Saturday at Towson, Shaver and his players knew exactly what they needed to do to get the win — play physical on offense and defense. However the game plan never came to fruition, as the College turned in its worst defensive performance of the year, falling to the Tigers 99-82, the second straight conference loss.

“Very disappointed in our club tonight, no doubt about that,” Shaver told Tribe Athletics. “We allowed a team averaging 66, 68 points a game to score 99 on us. We don’t have a lot of heart defensively right now … Towson’s a very tough, physical team, and obviously that play really bothers us, and we really got manhandled.”

The Tigers (18-9, 9-5 Colonial Athletic Association) came out of the gate hot on the offensive end, jumping out to a 20-11 lead after eight minutes of play. The strong shooting continued for the rest of the game, as Towson knocked down 55.6 percent of their field goal attempts and over 46 percent of their shots from beyond the arc, well above their season averages. Whether it was just an uncharacteristically good shooting night for the Tigers or weak defense from the Tribe (17-8, 9-5), the College nonetheless gave up 99 points, which they haven’t done in three years.

Very disappointed in our club tonight, no doubt about that,” Shaver told Tribe Athletics. “We allowed a team averaging 66, 68 points a game to score 99 on us. We don’t have a lot of heart defensively right now … Towson’s a very tough, physical team, and obviously that play really bothers us, and we really got manhandled.”

Towson guard Mike Morsell particularly plagued the Tribe, tallying his career-high with 34 points, doing damage from inside, outside and at the free throw line. After the game Shaver emphasized his team’s failure to execute the defensive strategy, particularly in regard to containing Morsell.

“Our scouting report on Morsell is that he can get really hot,” Shaver told Tribe Athletics. “Our point of emphasis was not to give him open shots early, and allow him to gain his confidence. And he got two or three open threes early in the ballgame, and so once again we weren’t really paying attention to detail. We allowed a kid averaging 12 a game to get 30, I believe.”

By the end of the first half the score was 46-37 in favor of the Tigers. the College shot less than 35 percent from the floor but kept pace due to its 16 made free throws. The charity stripe proved to be one of the Tribe’s best sources of offense, providing William and Mary with 28 points, as their trademark outside shooting struggled to get going.

“We drove the ball reasonably well,” Shaver told Tribe Athletics. “They foul a lot, which is typical for their physical style of play. For every foul that was called there were probably two or three that could have been called. It’s the style they play, and they’re doing it very well right now.”

The Tribe briefly came to life in the second half, cutting the deficit to three with a little over 13 minutes to play. Five minutes later, however, Towson’s lead has ballooned to 15, a string of turnovers costing the College dearly. For the game both teams had the nine turnovers, but the Tigers made more of these takeaways, scoring 16 points off turnovers to the Tribe’s six.

Our scouting report on Morsell is that he can get really hot,” Shaver told Tribe Athletics. “Our point of emphasis was not to give him open shots early, and allow him to gain his confidence. And he got two or three open threes early in the ballgame, and so once again we weren’t really paying attention to detail. We allowed a kid averaging 12 a game to get 30, I believe.”

When the final horn sounded, the scoreboard read 99-82 as Towson swept the Tribe on the season to Shaver’s considerable frustration. Within a game of first place when the week started, William and Mary sits in a three-way tie for third place, a home matchup with conference leaders UNC Wilmington, winners of 11 straight games, looming Thursday. The game is scheduled to tip-off at Kaplan Arena at 7 p.m.

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  • Josh Luckenbaugh

Flat Hat Sports Editor Josh Luckenbaugh '18 is a sophomore from Leesburg, VA, majoring in English.