Men’s basketball: Tribe drops games to Marshall, George Mason

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COURTESY IMAGE / Tribe Athletics

Last Saturday, Nov. 24, William and Mary fought back from a double-digit second-half deficit for its second win of the season, beating St. Joseph’s 87-85. Wednesday, the Tribe found itself in a hole again, this time against Marshall. Unfortunately for the College, the Thundering Herd easily handled a push early in the second period and expanded their lead as the game got away from the Tribe (2-6), handing Marshall (5-1) an 84-64 victory.

The Thundering Herd jumped ahead early in the contest, but junior forward Justin Pierce kept it close with seven-straight points. The last two, on a jumper from inside the arc, tied the game at nine, and a layup by freshman guard Chase Audige a couple possessions later gave the College its first lead of the game.

Marshall would respond with a 10-2 run, expanding their lead to 22-15. The teams went back and forth before seven-straight Tribe points, five by redshirt senior forward Paul Rowley, took the advantage back for the College with 6 minutes, 31 seconds to play in the half. After a dunk by junior forward Nathan Knight, the Tribe led 35-31. The four-point edge would be the College’s largest of the night.

Unfortunately for the Tribe, a troubling trend of sluggish first-half finishes continued. Eight consecutive points for the Thundering Herd secured the lead for good, and after guard Jon Elmore hit a three at the buzzer, Marshall had extended its spurt to 15-2, claiming a 46-37 lead at the break.

While the College showed signs of life through the first stages of the second period, they were quickly extinguished by Marshall. By the 17:21 mark, the Thundering Herd had extended its lead to 13 points. Junior guard Matt Milon hit a free throw followed by a layup from freshman guard Thornton Scott to cut the lead to 10, but that was as close as the Tribe would get to a tie. Marshall scored 10 of the next 13 points, all but sealing the deal for the Thundering Herd, which led 66-49 over the College with less than eight minutes to go.

With 3:49 left, head coach Tony Shaver was assessed a technical foul, channeling his frustration and imploring his team to show effort. It would not change the outcome, as the College eventually fell by 20 points.

Rowley, in his second game back from injury, posted 12 points to top the Tribe, while Knight had eight, plus nine rebounds and five assists. Milon also added 11 for the College.

The Tribe returned to Kaplan Arena Saturday afternoon for a game against in-state rival George Mason (4-5). The College had dropped back to three games under .500 after its midweek setback. The Patriots were able to hang on for an 87-84 win after Knight’s last-second shot bounced harmlessly off the rim.

The Patriots jumped out to a quick five-point lead, 10-5, after a fast-paced start to the game. However, the Tribe answered back, setting the tone for a close back-and-forth game. The College was able to surge ahead 14-10 at the 13:59 mark on the strength of a 9-0 scoring run. Pierce was key on this run with five of the nine points for the Tribe. The Tribe was plagued by foul trouble for two of its starters. Knight only played 23 minutes, and fellow starter and freshman guard LJ Owens picked up three fouls midway through the first half and went scoreless in 17 minutes of action. The Patriots’ last lead of the first half came just before the 10:00e mark at 18-17. The Tribe was able to maintain the lead after Knight put the College up 19-18 with 10:15 remaining, but the Patriots trimmed the deficit to 42-36 heading to the locker room.

Rowley came out strong for the College in the second half, scoring his team’s first five points of the half. Guard Justin Kier gave the Patriots the lead briefly, 53-52, but the College quickly made its way back on top. Midway through the second half, the Patriots clawed back on top once again and held the lead for most of the last 10 minutes.

With less than five minutes remaining, Audige drained a three from the corner to bring the College back within one, as the Patriots were threatening to take a comfortable lead. The Tribe was unable to ever take the lead back. A key three from Scott once again brought the deficit to one, 85-84, with under 40 seconds to play. At the other end, the Tribe’s defense could not get a stop, and Rowley was forced to take a tough three to try and tie the game in the waning seconds. His shot missed, but Audige got the rebound and went to the line. He missed the front end of a one-and-one, and this time Knight came up with the offensive rebound. He raced to the corner as time expired and launched a three pointer, but it bounced off the rim, preserving an 87-84 win for the Patriots.

The Patriots were led by a balanced attack, with five players in double figures. Guard Otis Livingston II had a team-high 18 points plus 10 assists. The College was led by Knight’s 22 points in limited minutes. Audige, last week’s CAA Rookie of the Week, also had a strong effort with 16 points on just seven shots. The Tribe will take on Old Dominion Wednesday before traveling to Hampton Saturday.