TRIBE 68, NORTHEASTERN 63
The College of William and Mary’s seven-game losing streak is over.
Behind a career-high 19 points from freshman forward Quinn McDowell, who sparked his team out of the gate and iced the game for the Tribe at the free throw line in the game’s closing seconds, the College (7-15, 2-10 CAA) upset conference-leading Northeastern University 68-63 Wednesday night at Kaplan Arena.
“I think we came out with a different intensity,” junior guard David Schneider said. “To beat a team like this at home, I think that really helps our confidence. We’ve had a lot of tough losses.”
The Tribe reversed recent poor shooting and defensive efforts against Northeastern, shooting 47.8 percent, committing only 11 turnovers and holding its opponents to 39.6 percent shooting – the third-best Tribe defensive performance in conference play.
“We actually had a sheet of six or seven things we listed and went over as a team about what we thought we had to do in those categories,” Head Coach Tony Shaver said of Monday’s practice, which focused on aspects of the game like picking up a teammate after a charge, communicating on defense and encouraging one another. “By doing that we’re concentrating on the little things in the game and not focusing so much on the result. Sometimes in the sporting world you focus on the end result and you lose yourself a little bit.”
That concentration paid off during the Tribe’s 28-9 run which stretched through halftime and spanned almost 13 minutes, bringing the team from down six to up 46-33 with 11:58 remaining.
Junior forward Danny Sumner sparked the run with a highlight reel worthy full-extension dunk at 4:57 mark in the first half, while McDowell put the finishing touches on the spurt when he converted two free throws.
“When you make shots, you’re a lot better team,” McDowell said. “At times previsouly in the season, we’d either be [at] one of two extremes, either jacking up shots or being so passive you can’t make plays.”
Over the next five minutes, the Huskies’ 17-7 run cut the Tribe’s lead to 53-50. Unlike recent games when the College folded under pressure, the team answered back and clamped down defensively, holding Northeastern to just two points during a 5:42 span.
“I thought we were forced into way too many threes this evening,” Northeastern Head Coach Bill Coen said. “Twenty-six [threes] is a lot for us. We’re not a three-point shooting team like that. You have to give credit to their defense for limiting our touches around the basket.”
Northeastern fouled down the stretch and trimmed the Tribe’s lead down to three on three different occasions, but the College hit 11 of 17 free throws to seal its first win since Jan. 7.
“The first thing we’re going to do is enjoy this [win tonight],” Shaver said. “Momentum is only as good as your effort. If we don’t play hard the next game, that momentum won’t be with us.”
McDowell and sophomore forward Marcus Kitts, whose emphatic jam electrified the Tribe crowd, sparked the College coming out of the starting gate.
McDowell’s reverse layup as time ran out gave the College a 28-26 advantage entering halftime – its first lead at the break since Jan. 21 against Hofstra University.
Schneider finished with 18 points, hitting 7 of 9 free throws to offset his 4 of 12 effort from the field. Senior forward Peter Stein came off the bench to record eight points and grab eight rebounds in 24 minutes.