Men’s basketball: Tribe downs Pirates, 76-71

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Courtesy image / TRIBE ATHLETICS

After suffering an 18-point defeat Wednesday at the hands of Old Dominion, William and Mary bounced back Dec. 8 with a 76-71 win over the Hampton Pirates. The Tribe (3-7) controlled the game for most of the first half and weathered a second-half comeback from the Pirates (3-7) to claim the victory, 76-71.

The College didn’t waste any time grabbing the lead, scoring eight unanswered points in the first two minutes of the game. The Tribe continued to build on its lead during the first half, despite the Pirates attempts to close the gap. A three by junior guard Matt Milon with 10 minutes left put the Tribe up by 10, but that lead was quickly cut down to four as Hampton scored the next six points. The Pirates stayed within striking distance for most of the half but never took the lead.

The first half ended with the Tribe up 38-34, shooting 44 percent from the field compared to Hampton’s 32 percent. Junior forward Nathan Knight and Milon both got to double digits with 10 points each, while junior guard Justin Pierce added seven rebounds and nine points.

Starting the second half taking the lead 40-38, the Tribe found itself down 48-40 after giving up 10 straight points to Hampton in less than a two minute span. The Tribe had trouble finding open looks and getting back into the game thanks to the Pirates tenacious defense.

The Tribe started to fight its way back midway through the second half. Pierce hit a three-pointer with 12 minutes left to cut the lead to six, and two free throws by Knight pulled the College within four. These free throws also gave Knight his 1000th and 1001st career points as a member of the Tribe. He is only the 40th player in Tribe history to accomplish this feat.

The College kept fighting and was able to gradually chip away at Hampton’s lead. An 8-0 run by the Tribe was capped off by senior forward Paul Rowley’s layup that tied the game at 61-61 with 6:36 left. The lead continued to flip back and forth as the clock ran down, neither team able to pull away.

With 1:38 left and the Tribe up 71-69, the game was put on hold for 20 minutes due to clock issues. When the game finally resumed progress, good defense as well as clutch free throw shooting by the Tribe down the stretch helped it get the 76-71 victory over the Pirates.

Both Knight and Pierce put up double-doubles in the win, Knight finishing with 24 points and 12 rebounds, while Pierce added 17 points and 12 rebounds, achieving his fifth double-double in eight games. Both players also added five assists.

The Tribe’s next game is at home against the William Peace Pacers. After that it travels to Charlottesville Saturday, Dec. 22 to battle against the No. 4 team in the country, Virginia.