Coming to a theater near you!

Men’s basketball: Tribe rebounds from Senior Day loss with 75-65 win at Elon

Written by

|

February 29, 2016

11:03 PM

With a spoiled Senior Day fresh on the mind after Saturday’s loss to Drexel, William and Mary (19-9, 11-6 CAA) traveled down to Elon, N.C. and promptly ruined the Phoenix’s farewell to its four-year players in a 75-65 contest that featured 36 minutes of highly-competitive play Feb. 25. With the victory in this penultimate game of the 2015-16 season, the College kept itself alive in the fight for the No. 3 seed in the Colonial Athletic Association tournament and earned a 2-0 sweep of Elon on the year.

“We didn’t play very well for large stretches of the game,” head coach Tony Shaver said to Tribe Athletics. “The only way I know how to describe this is it was a gutty win.”

The final four minutes decided the game. With 4:15 left on the clock, a jumper in the paint by the Phoenix’s Luke Eddy swished in, and Elon (15-15, 6-11 CAA) earned its final points of the contest. Down 65-64, the College offense worked its way back in a gradual 11-0 run to earn the victory.

“We didn’t play very well for large stretches of the game,” head coach Tony Shaver said to Tribe Athletics. “The only way I know how to describe this is it was a gutty win.”

The matchup didn’t get off to an advantageous start for the Tribe. After having lost three of the previous four games, the Tribe anticipated another tough game Thursday night. Elon seized a quick 6-0 lead off a pair of three-pointers, causing the College to play catch-up for the rest of the half.

“We thought it would be a one-possession CAA road game,” Shaver said to Tribe Athletics.

With a tepid 35 percent conversion rate from the field, the College ended the first half down seven by a score of 39-32, although it could have been worse. Elon, the No. 1 CAA team in three-point shooting by volume with an average of 27.86 three-point attempts per game (three more than the second-highest by volume, Hofstra), stayed true to form and launched 16 attempts in the first half for only 18 points. William and Mary, the No. 1 team for conversion rate of triples, shot a mediocre 3 of 10.

“We thought it would be a one-possession CAA road game,” Shaver said to Tribe Athletics.

In the second half, the Tribe vastly improved its shooting, firing 62.4 percent en route to a 43-point effort, led by junior guard Omar Prewitt’s 19 points. The College also improved on the defensive end, reeling in 40 rebounds to the Phoenix 31 while holding Elon to a 33 percent field goal conversion rate, and a crucial 27 percent conversion rate on shots from the perimeter. As Elon’s offense relies heavily on shots from beyond the arc, limiting successful threes was a major piece of the Tribe victory. Shaver attributed both improvements to the defense.

“The zone helped us,” he said to Tribe Athletics. “It’s a game we didn’t think we could play a lot of zone because they shoot it so well, but we really extended the zone. We worked hard on finding and locating their shooters, and we did a good job on that.”

Big plays for the College, such as a four-point play from senior Terry Tarpey, provided enough momentum for the Tribe to carry the game in the closing minutes, triumphing 75-65 off a four-minute, 11-0 run to close the game.

Up next for the Tribe is a matchup against James Madison in Harrisonburg, Va., Feb. 27 at 2 p.m. The Tribe has to win in order to have a chance to keep the CAA No. 3 seed entering the tournament, as No. 4 Towson owns the tiebreaker against the Tribe with a 2-0 head-to-head record.

Share This Article

Related News

Men’s soccer: Tribe falters in 4-1 loss to No. 9 UNC on rainy Tuesday night
Commentary: Tribe strong on the lines, questions at QB in win over Norfolk State
Women’s soccer: Tribe falls in heartbreaker against High Point, rebounds to beat Marshall

About Author

Sumner Higginbotham
  • Sumner Higginbotham

Flat Hat Sports Editor Sumner Higginbotham '16 is an accounting major from Altavista, Va.