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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Tribe’s season ends with loss to Hofstra in CAA Tourney

(Tribe Athletics)

WASHINGTON — Twenty-four hours after posting its biggest victory margin in a postseason game, William & Mary had no answer against the top seed in the Colonial Athletic Association tournament.

Hofstra came out hot and never cooled off in a 94-46 win over the Tribe Sunday afternoon at the Entertainment & Sports Arena in Washington, D.C. W&M came in with a three-game winning streak, which included a 22-point win over Elon in the second round.

The Pride shot 59% from the floor, 13-of-19 from the 3-point arc, and held W&M to its lowest point total of the season.

“I thought they played unbelievably well today,” W&M coach Dane Fischer said. “We tried to throw a few different things at them defensively, but they just seemed to have an answer for whatever we did. What was probably the most impressive is the way they defended.

“We just couldn’t get into a rhythm offensively, and a lot of that had to do with the way they played. I was really proud of the way our team stuck together and battled in that second half on a day where we clearly weren’t playing as well as we needed to and as we’re capable of.”

In the lone regular-season game between these teams on Jan. 7, the Tribe shot 11-of-27 from the 3-point arc in a 75-62 loss. This time, a day after knocking down 14 from deep against Elon, W&M (13-20) was 6-of-25.

“We certainly didn’t get the same quality of looks as we got yesterday,” Fischer said. “When you’re playing against a zone, you’re going to get more open looks from 3. Hofstra did a great job today of limiting those opportunities.

“I think we needed to move the ball better than we did. We got a little stagnant, and that hurt us a little bit. But a lot of credit is to Hofstra for making it tough on us to get good looks.”

Hofstra (24-8) made nine of its first 12 shots and took a 20-4 lead just over six minutes into the game. The Pride shot 65% from the floor, 5-of-9 from the 3-point arc, and had only one turnover in the first half in building a 51-14 lead.

“Obviously, it’s never fun to start a game down 20-4 — I think we could all say that,” said guard Anders Nelson, who led W&M with 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting. “Not a spot you want to find yourself in, especially in the playoffs.”

Sunday’s loss ended an impressive late-season run by the Tribe, which had won three consecutive games, each by double digits.

“This has been a really, really fun group to coach, and you want to win this one for a variety of reasons,” Fischer said “One of them was to get to coach these guys one more day. I’m really proud of this group.”

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