Men’s basketball: Smothered in Norfolk

Thornton with the ball against Old Dominion. SALMA ABDEL-RAHEEM / THE FLAT HAT

William and Mary lost its sixth straight conference game Saturday night in Norfolk, as Old Dominion dominated the Tribe in every phase on its way to an easy 68-44 win.

Sophomore guard Brandon Britt finished with two points and two turnovers. SALMA ABDEL RAHEEM / THE FLAT HAT

One of the league’s best rebounding teams, the Monarchs owned the paint, easily outrebounding the Tribe 35-21. Of those 35 rebounds, 13 came on the offensive end and too often resulted in critical second-chance baskets for ODU. In what’s been a recurring theme throughout the conference schedule, the Tribe (4-19, 2-9 CAA) found itself physically and athletically overwhelmed underneath, as ODU outscored the Tribe 46-10 in the post. See the full box score here.

“We got beat by a better team,” head coach Tony Shaver said. “Physically, we didn’t match up very well.”

ODU (14-9, 9-2 CAA) jumped out to a quick 12-0 lead thanks to three Tribe turnovers, but the College regrouped, as sophomore guard Julian Boatner and senior forward Quinn McDowell each knocked down a pair of threes to spark a 20-8 run that tied the game midway through the first half. McDowell played well in a losing effort, going 6-10 from the floor to finish as the game’s top scorer with 15 points.

“We sort of took a blow on the chin the first four or five minutes,” Shaver said. “But I was really proud of how our guys responded.”

Shaver’s team never did take the lead but used the three-ball to keep it close as the first half drew to a close. After a red-hot McDowell buried his third three of the half to cut the lead to two, it looked as if a confident Tribe team wasn’t going away.

Freshman guard Marcus Thornton. SALMA ABDEL-RAHEEM / THE FLAT HAT

But, on cue, a resurgent Monarchs squad went on a 13-3 tear to claim a comfortable 40-28 halftime lead, and the College found itself in a double-digit hole it would never climb out of, despite going 7-14 from beyond the arc in the first half. See the Flat Hat’s play-by-play from the live blog here.

Not surprisingly, Shaver pointed to getting beat on the glass, as well as his team’s nine first-half turnovers, as the main reasons for the decisive letdown.

“The last two minutes of the half, they got two or three straight second shots on us, and that was a real key to the game,” Shaver said. “Turnovers really hurt us too … those were two things we felt we had to control, and we didn’t do a very good job of it.”

ODU came into the game toward the bottom half of the league in field-goal percentage, but shot a red-hot 17 of 28 in the first half, continuously getting the ball down low for easy looks. The Monarchs wore down the Tribe in the second half, once again outscoring the College by 12, 28-16. ODU finished the game 28-54 from the field, but underscoring their huge advantage in the paint, the Monarchs attempted 14 more shots than the Tribe.

ODU guard Donte Hill, who scored 11 points to be one of three Monarchs in double figures, summarized his team’s impressive showing.

“I think we did a good job of just smothering them when they were down,” he said.

Smothering is a good description of ODU’s aggressive zone defense in the second half. In contrast to its efficient offensive play in the first, the Tribe shot just 6 of 18 in the second, including a dismal 1 of 9 from three.

More surprisingly, the league’s best free-throw shooting team went just 3 of 9 from the line, a stat not lost on Monarchs head coach, Blaine Taylor.

Senior forward Quinn McDowell led all scorers with 15 points. SALMA ABDEL-RAHEEM / THE FLAT HAT

“I think [the College’s] 3-9 was an indication that things were not going their way,” he said. “I thought we wore them down with multiple players and multiple tactics.”


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