Tribe wins first CAA tournament matchup, loses second

ETHAN QIN // THE FLAT HAT The Tribe shot 57.1% at the free throw line and 33.3% from behind the arc against Towson, ending its season with the second-most three-pointers in program history.

Friday, March 8 and Saturday, March 9, William and Mary men’s basketball (10-23, 4-14 CAA) competed in the 2024 Coastal Athletic Association Men’s Basketball Championship at the Entertainment and Sports Arena in Washington, D.C.

The Tribe emerged victorious Friday, defeating North Carolina A&T (7-25, 5-13 CAA) 79-62. Junior guard/forward Gabe Dorsey and sophomore guards Chase Lowe and Trey Moss led the Green and Gold in scoring, recording 18 points apiece.

Lowe’s career-high 16 rebounds — which set a new CAA tournament program record for the Tribe — and six assists proved vital to the Green and Gold’s success.

“Coach Howland and Coach Fischer were telling me that I could be effective by dribbling and handing off and being a screener out there and trying to get others involved,” Lowe said. “I definitely think it was the best game of my career.”

William and Mary head coach Dane Fischer praised Lowe’s skills, emphasizing his unique playing style.

“He has an unbelievable knack for going and getting rebounds on both sides of the floor,” Fischer said. “When he’s at his best, he’s facilitating like he did today as well and getting everybody else going.”

Following two missed shot attempts, the Aggies finally got on the board in the second minute with a jump shot from freshman forward Nikolaos Chitikoudis. Assisted by Lowe, Gabe Dorsey responded with a three-pointer just over 20 seconds later, putting the Tribe on the scoreboard.

One minute, 50 seconds into the matchup, Aggies sophomore guard Landon Glasper knocked down a three-pointer, assisted by sophomore guard Camian Shell. Ten seconds later, Moss equalized the score 5-5, making two free throws after he was fouled on the shot.

With 16:04 left in the first half, William and Mary junior guard Matteus Case pulled the Tribe ahead with a layup. Though N.C. A&T responded with a layup of its own, Gabe Dorsey scored his second three-pointer of the game in the fifth minute, putting the Green and Gold back in the lead 10-7.

The next five minutes saw back-and-forth action from both teams.

After Lowe’s defensive rebound in the 10th minute, Gabe Dorsey’s jump shot extended the Tribe’s lead to four points. The Aggies pulled ahead with a jumper and a three-pointer from Chitikoudis, but a three from Case tied the score at 24-24.

The Tribe dominated the last two minutes of the half, extending its lead to five heading into the break.

Moss converted a layup to tie the score 30-30 with around a minute left in the half. Following a defensive rebound from graduate student guard Sean Houpt, Lowe scored yet again on an explosive fast break. With 35 seconds left in the half, Moss’s three extended the Tribe’s lead to 35-30.

Though Chitikoudis scored the first point of the second half, N.C. A&T failed to erase the Tribe’s lead for the remainder of the matchup.

With 16 minutes left in the game, Lowe scored a jump shot in the paint and converted a free throw. Thirty seconds later, Houpt’s three-pointer further solidified the Tribe’s lead.

The Aggies came close to taking back the lead in the middle of the second half, when freshman guard Jalal McKie knocked down a three-pointer with just over 10 minutes left remaining. Following fouls by Houpt and Tribe sophomore guard Miles Hicks, Glasper converted a free throw, narrowing the Tribe’s lead to just three points.

With nine minutes left, Gabe Dorsey passed to Lowe, who scored a layup. Assisted by Case, Moss scored another three-pointer with 8:09 left in the matchup. After subbing back in, Lowe scored another layup inside the paint. Lowe’s subsequent free throw cemented the Green and Gold’s double-digit lead at 61-50.

Gabe Dorsey and Houpt scored back-to-back three-pointers in the 35th and 36th minutes, respectively.

The Tribe fired on all cylinders for the last three minutes of the game. The team converted five free throws and a steal followed by a fast break dunk from Lowe extended the Tribe’s lead to 19 points. Chitikoudis closed the game with a jump shot in the paint and William and Mary ended the afternoon with a 79-62 victory.

“I think that there’s a little bit of renewed confidence in our locker room right now,” Fischer said after the victory.

Lowe echoed this sentiment.

“Coach Fischer and Coach Howland were making sure that we came to the game with the mentality to pop the ball and get everyone involved,” Lowe said. “It was great to see the culmination of all of our hard work come together.”

Fischer addressed the team’s struggle with injuries this season.

“The road to winning this thing is a little bit tougher for us than we were hoping coming into the season,” Fischer said. “We’ll turn the attention to Towson, look at the game we played against them, things we did well, things we need to improve on and go try to play our best game of the season tomorrow.”

Saturday, the Tribe’s season came to an end following a 67-56 loss to Towson (20-14, 11-7 CAA). Though the Green and Gold kept the game close in the first half of the matchup, it lost its steam midway though the second half.

Fischer identified Towson’s strong defense as the primary challenge for the Tribe after the game.

“In that stretch of the second half, they made it really hard for us to get any kind of advantage,” Fischer said. “That stretch obviously was the difference in the game, but I’m really, really proud of the group and the way that they stuck together and battled through it.”

Offensively, Gabe Dorsey led in scoring again, earning 18 points for the Green and Gold. The Tribe shot 57.1% at the free throw line and 33.3% from behind the arc, ending its season with 296 three-pointers, the second-most in program history.

Towson head coach Pat Skerry emphasized the Tribe’s strong offensive production in the first half.

“I thought in the first half they made some tough shots,” Skerry said. “We did a good job of forcing difficult shots most of the game.”

Moss put William and Mary on the scoreboard in the second minute with a layup, but the Tigers responded with two converted free throws by freshman guard/forward Tyler Tejada. After a series of offensive rebounds by junior forward Caleb Dorsey and a defensive rebound by Towson junior guard Nendah Tarke, who scored a fast break layup, giving the Tigers a 4-2 lead.

With 14:45 left in the first half, a Houpt three-pointer evened the score to 9-9. Less than a minute later, Moss knocked down a three of his own, and the Tribe took the lead 12-9.

In response to a layup by Gabe Dorsey, Towson junior forward Tomiwa Sulaiman tied the score 14-14 with a three-point jumper in the 10th minute.

The latter part of the first half saw back-and-forth play from both teams, as no team led by more than three points heading into the break. 

With 8:14 left in the first half, Gabe Dorsey passed to freshman forward Tai Hamilton, who dunked the ball and put the Tribe on top 20-19. Less than 30 seconds later, Tejada responded with a dunk. The Green and Gold regained its one-point lead with a jump shot from Gabe Dorsey with less than eight minutes left in the half.

The first half ended with a jump shot from Tarke in the final minute, narrowing the Tribe’s lead to 30-29.

Tigers graduate student forward Charles Thompson — who became the 30th player in Towson men’s basketball history to record 1,000 career points — wreaked havoc on the Tribe in the second half. Fischer identified Thompson’s presence on the court as a challenge for the Tribe.

“Where he probably makes the biggest difference for them is on the defensive end,” Fischer said. “I thought we were able to get some stuff offensively when he wasn’t out there and when he was, it was a lot tougher.”

Thompson scored 10 points off the bench for the Tigers and played all 20 minutes of the second half.

The Green and Gold held the lead for the first nine minutes of the half, only tying Towson once. Assisted by Thompson, Tigers redshirt freshman guard Dylan Williamson equalized the score 38-38 with a three-point jump shot. Gabe Dorsey quickly responded with a three-point jumper at the 24:48 mark, recovering the Tribe’s lead.

William and Mary failed to shake Towson’s offensive and defensive power after Williamson converted two free throws with 11:07 remaining in the game. For the next seven minutes, the Tigers scored 15 consecutive points, leading 58-44 until Moss scored a three-pointer with three minutes left in the matchup.

The Tribe failed to break Towson’s strong lead and scored nine points in the last few minutes of the matchup. Winning 67-56, the Tigers advanced to the quarterfinals and ended William and Mary’s season.

Sunday, March 10, William and Mary Director of Athletics Brian D. Mann announced the Tribe’s search for a new head coach.

Though Fischer will part ways with William and Mary, he remains optimistic about the team’s future.

“I’m really excited about the group that we have, what we’re going to bring back to guys that are hopefully going to come back healthy next year,” Fischer said.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here