William and Mary’s last field goal was scored with nine minutes remaining against Charleston (15-9, 9-3 CAA) in Thursday’s game in South Carolina. For almost half of the second period, the Tribe (16-9, 8-4 CAA) was unable to put the ball in the basket, missing its last 10 shots of the game. The Cougars rode their defensive performance to beat the Tribe handily 68-50, putting them at the top of the Colonial Athletic Association, while the Tribe fell to third place.
On the season against CAA rivals, the Tribe has made an average of 46 percent of its field goal shots. In the Jan. 30 59-58 win against Northeastern, the Tribe shot 37 percent; the same shooting percentage applied to the Feb. 1 game loss against Hofstra, 83-60. Against the Cougars, that number dropped to an all-season low, 33 percent, while the Cougars shot at 47 percent.
Unfortunately for the Tribe, senior forward Nathan Knight was the only person making substantial offensive contributions, recording a double-double for the night. It was his 19th of the season. He single-handedly accounted for 23 of the Tribe’s 60 shots, and 28 of the Tribe’s 50 points. He also secured 18 rebounds. The next highest contributor was senior forward Andy Van Vliet with eight points on eight shots and seven rebounds.
In the first half, Knight opened scoring with a layup in the paint. He made a second basket three minutes later to stop an eight-point Cougar run. In fact, 10 of the first 11 points scored by the Tribe were courtesy of Knight. Not only was Tribe offense not supporting Knight’s efforts, but the Tribe also could not stop the Cougars defensively. The period ended with Charleston leading 35-28.
The second period seemed promising when the Tribe opened with a 10-point surge to take the lead. It managed to keep the Cougars scoreless for the first four and a half minutes, and it saw offensive contributions from almost the entire line-up. The lead changed several times, but the game remained close. Seven minutes in, the Cougars pounced on a tenuous one-point Tribe lead, beginning a 15-4 run. The 57-47 score proved too much for the Tribe to overcome. The game ended as it began: with points from Knight. Knight scored the last three Tribe points of the game — all free throws.
Two members of the Tribe’s starting line-up scored just one basket each throughout the entire game. Playing a combined 45 minutes, graduate guards Tyler Hamilton and Bryce Barnes scored a total of four points for the Tribe. Barnes attempted eight shots, three of those being from behind the arc.
To contrast, three Cougars had double figures. Cougars guard Brevin Galloway helped his team significantly with 23 points, but he could lean on other pillars of offensive support to seize the win. Guard Grant Riller scored 10 points, and forward Sam Miller scored 13. Riller may have reached double figures but his 10 points tied his season low. He may have been limited offensively, but the rest of the Cougars line-up stepped up to compensate.
The Tribe did not shoot well overall, but an especially weak area was the three-pointer. The Tribe only converted four of its 22 attempts, while the Cougars took 27 points from three-pointers alone, making nine of its 23 shots from long-distance.
This game brings Knight six points shy of 2,000 career points. Saturday, Feb. 8, the Tribe will travel to Wilmington, North Carolina, to face North Carolina-Wilmington (7-18, 2-10 CAA). The last time they played the Seahawks, early January, the Tribe lost 79-63.