Second-Half Tribe Men’s Basketball Rally Falls Short vs. Hofstra

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tribe men's basketball
Courtesy Tribe Athletics

The William & Mary men’s basketball team’s late second-half comeback fell short in an 86-80 loss to Hofstra on Thursday night snapping its four-game win streak.

Trailing by as many as 13 points with six minutes remaining, W&M (17-7, 9-4 CAA) ripped off a 12-1 run to close to within two in the final minute, but could not complete the comeback as Hofstra (17-8, 9-4 CAA), who shot 59.4 percent in the second half, hit 4-of-6 from the free throw line in the last 30 seconds.

Junior Omar Prewitt led W&M with his third-straight 20-plus point game, tallying 25 on 10-of-18 shooting to go with three rebounds, three assists and two steals. Sophomore David Cohn was the only other Tribe player in double figures with 13 points and added five assists with three steals.

Off the bench, W&M received a lift from sophomore Connor Burchfield and freshman Hunter Seacat. Burchfield knocked down a pair of 3-pointers and was fouled on another to finish with nine points, while Seacat had a career-high eight points on 4-of-5 shooting and five rebounds in 13 minutes.

Hofstra broke open a back-and-forth second half with a 13-2 run sparked by senior Ameen Tanksley. He scored seven of the Pride’s 13 points during the stretch, including back-to-back lay-ups, to stretch the visitor’s lead to 79-66 with 6:35 remaining.

The Tribe, which held Hofstra without a field goal over the final 5:57 of the game, answered with a 12-1 to close within two points. A Cohn jumper followed by a Seacat bucket drew the Green and Gold within singles digits. Sophomore Greg Malinowski knocked down a 3-pointer from the left corner, and a Prewitt steal resulted in his own old-fashion three-point play, cutting the deficit to 81-78 with 1:49 left.

After Tanskley hit 1-of-2 from the charity stripe, senior Terry Tarpey pulled down an offensive rebound and put it back, pulling the home team within 82-80 at the 38-second mark. It would be as close as the Green and Gold would get as both Tanksley and Juan’ya Green knocked down a pair of free throws over the final 23 seconds to preserve the Hofstra win.

W&M finished the night at 44.6 percent (29-of-65) from the floor and connected on 88.9 percent (16-of-18) from the charity stripe. W&M outrebounded Hofstra, 37-35, and recorded 15 assists and nine steals. Tarpey tallied eight points and a team-high eight rebounds, while fellow senior Sean Sheldon added eight points and five rebounds.

Hofstra, which shot 59.4 percent (19-of-32) in the decisive second half, hit 54 percent (34-of-63) from the field, including 8-of-21 (38.1 percent) from 3-point range. Rokas Gustys led the Pride with 25 points on 12-of-16 shooting to go with 15 rebounds, while Green added a double-double as well on 13 points and 12 assists. Tanksley scored 14 of his 18 points in the second half, while Denton Koon and Brian Bernardi added 13 points apiece.

The Tribe scored the game’s first nine points in jumping out to the early lead. After a steal and fastbreak lay-up from junior Daniel Dixon got W&M on the board, Prewitt tallied four-straight points to stretch the lead. Cohn capped the spurt with a top of the key 3-pointer to give W&M a 9-0 cushion four minutes into the contest.

Hofstra took its first lead behind some hot shooting. With the Tribe on top 20-13 after a Prewitt floater, the Pride connected on nine of its next 12 shots to move in front. During the stretch, Hofstra scored seven straight in taking its first lead at 26-24 on a Green jumper with 6:10 left in the first half.

The Pride’s lead reached as much a four, 35-31, in the first half before W&M scored seven straight. A trio of Burchfield free throws after he was fouled on a long-range attempt put W&M on top, before Seacat’s follow-up bucket with less than a minute to go made it 38-35. Bernardi’s 3-pointer just before the halftime horn tied the contest heading into the locker room.

The second half was a back-and-forth affair through the opening 10 minutes. Five-straight Hofstra points on a Koon 3-pointer and a Gustys lay-up gave the Pride a 53-48 lead at the 14:12 mark.

Four-straight points from Tarpey closed the gap to 55-54 just a minute later. Hofstra’s lead once again reached five, 61-56, after back-to-back Gustys lay-ups. A Burchfield 3-pointer from the right side with 9:37 remaining narrowed the margin to 66-64, before Hofstra opened up its double-digit lead with a 13-2 run.

The Tribe returns to action traveling to Towson for a Comcast SportsNet broadcast on Saturday. Tip-off is slated for 4 p.m. with Brent Harris and Glen Consor on the call.

The game will be shown on Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic, Philadelphia, Bay Area and Northwest as well as SportsNet New York and online at CAA.TV.