Saturday, Nov. 20, the Tribe (0-4) traveled to High Point, NC to play in the Legends Classic Tournament. They dropped their first match of the competition against Georgia State (4-1). The Tribe lost 59-77 for the second time this season — the first time was against Wake Forest on Nov. 11.
William and Mary opened the game with a foul from freshman guard Tyler Rice. Georgia State went up two, sophomore forward Ben Wight tied the lead with a layup, then the Panthers went on an 8-0 run to make the score 10-2. Wight’s layup was the last time the Tribe glimpsed the lead.
Though sophomore guard Connor Kochera scored the next five points for the Tribe single-handedly, the Panthers ran away with it. The Panthers were so dominant that the Tribe struggled to get above halfway of the Panthers’ score: for every two baskets the Panthers banked, it seemed like the Tribe produced only one.
The half ended with the Tribe trailing 26-46. Wight and Kochera both contributed eight points. Freshman guard Julian Lewis scored five. The Panthers saw big contributions from senior guard Kane Williams, who scored 14 points in the first half alone.
In the second, the Tribe came out with renewed vigor. Kochera and Lewis got on the board quickly, with Kochera scoring five in the first two minutes.
The Panthers were only spurred on by the Tribe’s effort. Despite aggressive play from the Tribe, the Panthers extended their lead from up-20 at the half to up-23 at the fifteen minute mark. They consistently outshot, outpaced, and outscored the Tribe.
The Tribe brought the score within 16, with a three-pointer from Kochera. From there, that was the closest the score was for the half.
The Tribe finished the game, trailing the Panthers by 18. Kochera finished the game with a season high 16, while Wight also went double digits with 14. Williams finished with 22 for the Panthers.
Really, where the Tribe faltered was in their accuracy. They were making shots, but those shots didn’t translate into quality baskets. The Tribe shot around 35 percent on field goals and 25 percent on three-pointers. Compare those numbers to the Panthers, who shot 48 percent and 41 percent, respectively.
The Tribe’s free throw percentage patterns mirrored those of last week’s bouts. They began the first half with a dismal 3-9, then finished up the second half going 10-14, for an overall free throw percentage of 56 percent .
On the second day of the Legends Classic Tournament, the Tribe (0-5) faced Howard (4-2). Offensively, the Tribe produced the most points it has all season. It was not enough to defeat the Bisons; the Tribe lost 76-82.
The Tribe put up a good effort. Having played one game of the tournament, the Tribe was sufficiently warmed up. In the free throw category, the Tribe shot 83 percent over the course of the game. The first half, they went 12-14, and in the second, they made 3-4. Percentage-wise, the Tribe shot similarly to the Bisons. They led the three-pointer category 33 to 28 percent, while the Bisons led the field goals 47 to 44 percent.
Where the Tribe faltered was a number of shots allowed. Both teams saw 21 three-pointers, but the Panthers saw two more free throws and five more field goal attempts.
The lead changed 17 times over the course of the game.
With four minutes remaining in the second half, a layup from Bison guard Tai Bibbs tied the score at 74. The Bison went on an 8-2 run for the remainder of the second to steal the game from the Tribe. Senior forward Quinn Blair interrupted the run, but his late basket proved to be the last for the Tribe.
The most the score differed was when the Tribe led by six for half a minute in the first, thanks to efforts from Kochera and Wight.
Efforts across the roster allowed the Tribe to almost taste victory. Blair led the team with 22, while Kochera pulled his weight with 14. Freshman forward Langdon Hatton and Wight put 11 and 10 on the board, respectively. In total, William and Mary saw 43 points from bench players.
The Tribe will return to action Wednesday, Nov. 24, when they play Radford in Radford, VA, at 5 p.m. The Tribe looks to get its first win of the year against the Highlanders (1-4).