Knight scores 35, leads Tribe to victory against Elon

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Jamie Holt / The Flat Hat

Led by senior forward Nathan Knight’s 35 points, William and Mary outscored Elon 50-36 in the second half to secure an 84-74 Colonial Athletic Association win. The Tribe (10-16, 6-8 CAA) claimed only their second road conference win in seven tries this season, while the Phoenix (8-19, 4-10 CAA) fell into last place in the league.

“I thought our second half was really good,” head coach Tony Shaver said to Tribe Athletics. “I was not real pleased at halftime, I thought they were the aggressive team, and I thought they had us on our heels too much. But the second half, we played really good basketball.”

Knight picked up where he left off against Hofstra, scoring 16 of the first 19 Tribe points in the game. While Knight entered the game on fire, the rest of the team was ice-cold, starting 1-of-11 from the field.

“[Knight] has been our most consistent player, I think,” Shaver said. “Nate’s more aggressive right now, which is what we’ve been begging him for all year long. When he gets it down low, he intends to score.”

For Elon, guards Sheldon Eberhardt and Steven Santa Ana led the way early, as an Eberhardt jumper pushed the Phoenix lead to 23-19 at the under-eight media timeout.

Coming out of the timeout, junior forward Justin Pierce came alive, hitting two-straight threes to power an 8-0 Tribe run. After a Knight jumper, the College led 32-29 with just under three minutes to play. However, the Phoenix outscored the Tribe 9-2 to finish the half, capped off by an Eberhardt layup with six seconds left that ensured Elon would go into the locker room with a 38-34 advantage.

The College climbed back into the game to start the second half. Two treys in a row by junior guard Matt Milon took the lead back for the Tribe with 17:09 left in the game, before Elon tied it back up at 55 just minutes later. Milon finished the night 5-of-8 from three, including 4-of-7 in the second half.

“Our juniors stepped up for us,” Shaver said. “Our juniors basically played the way we expected them to all year. Nathan’s been really good all year. Matt Milon and Justin have been very erratic for us. But they were really special in the second half. We have got to get that out of them on a regular basis.”

It was then that the College grabbed control of the contest, as a 7-0 run spearheaded by sophomore guard Luke Loewe took the lead back for good. Just two minutes later, Pierce hit a jumper from downtown made it 69-63 with 7:58 to go.

Elon closed to within two after Eberhardt made a pair from the charity stripe with just over six minutes left, but the Tribe finished the game on a 12-4 run, as a running hook-shot and a block on the ensuing possession from Knight put it away with a minute and a half remaining.

72 of the Tribe’s 84 points came from the combination of Knight, Pierce and Milon. Meanwhile, all-CAA forward Tyler Seibring finished with 17, and Santa Ana had 15.

“Our juniors stepped up for us,” Shaver said. “Our juniors basically played the way we expected them to all year. Nathan’s been really good all year. Matt Milon and Justin have been very erratic for us. But they were really special in the second half. We have got to get that out of them on a regular basis.”

With the victory, the Tribe climbs to fifth in the conference with four games remaining until the CAA Tournament. Next, the College returns home for its final homestand of the year, as it faces Charleston Thursday night and North Carolina-Wilmington Saturday.