The struggling Tribe (1-8, 0-0 CAA) failed to regain momentum last Saturday, Dec. 4 at Davidson (6-2, 0-0 A-10), going down 15 at the half and ultimately losing 70-46.
The College shot 26% from the field in the contest and just 23% from three, while the Wildcats made nearly 46% of their shots. Davidson also outrebounded the Tribe 49-29 and outscored the College 30-8 in the paint. The Tribe big man duo of sophomore forward Ben Wight and freshman forward Langdon Hatton managed just six points and four rebounds between them, proving no match for the Wildcats’ frontcourt of 6’10 Luka Brajkovic and 6’9 Sam Mennenga, contributing to the significant statistical deficits in the contest.
“Their size gave us some problems,” head coach Dane Fischer said. “Brajkovic was terrific down on the blocks, and all of their bigs did a great job of rebounding and being a presence defensively. We really struggled to get anything inside against them.”
Getting off to a better start was a focus of the game, as well as not falling behind early, but this proved challenging with the Wildcats scoring the first nine points of the game and going up 19-6 with 11:37 left in the first half. The lead was extended to 33-14 with 4:01 to play in the period, and the Tribe managed to close the gap to 35-20 by intermission.
“We didn’t have the right focus and intensity from the start, which really put us in a hole,” Fischer said. “Against a really good offensive team, the last thing you want to do is give them easy baskets and let them get in a groove. Unfortunately, we did that.”
Among the few bright spots in the loss was the continued offensive re-emergence of sophomore guard Connor Kochera, who dropped 18 points and nine rebounds on 6-14 shooting. Sophomore guard Yuri Covington added 14 points including six free throws and freshman guard Julian Lewis chipped in eight along with five boards.
Fischer also praised Kochera’s defense after the game. Placed on the Wildcats’ leading scorer, Hyunjung Lee, he held him to seven points below his season average on just 3-8 from the field.
“Where he was really good today was on the defensive end,” Fischer said. “He was on Lee most of the game and really did a good job of making him work.”
Covington also earned postgame praise for his consistent offensive effort in an otherwise very challenging game for the College on that end of the floor.
“He did a really good job attacking,” Fischer said about Covington. “He did that a lot when we were struggling to get anything at the rim. He was able to drive the ball and got himself to the foul line. That was good to see for him.”
The Tribe will try to right the ship this Tuesday, Dec. 7 in a matchup with in-state rival Old Dominion at 7 p.m. The game will take place in Kaplan Arena and also be broadcast on FloSports and local Cox television stations.