WILLIAMSBURG — William & Mary men’s basketball battled back from as much as an 11-point second-half deficit against Hampton, but Yuri Covington’s right-wing 3-pointer in the closing seconds was off the mark and the visiting Pirates hung on for a 54-53 win on Thursday night at Kaplan Arena.
Trailing 48-38 with 9:25 remaining, the Tribe turned the screws on the defensive end to mount a comeback. W&M held Hampton (4-6) to just two field goals on nine attempts and five turnovers over the remainder of the game.
The Tribe scored five in a row on a Tyler Rice 3-pointer and a Connor Kochera driving lay-up to close the gap to five with 7:10 left. Five-straight from senior Quinn Blair, including three at the free-throw line, drew the home team within 52-50 with 2:35 remaining.
The margin was just one, 54-53, following a pair of Ben Wight free throws at the 1:07 mark. After a defensive stop, W&M (1-10) called timeout with just 20 seconds remaining. Hampton stopped a couple of Tribe drives to the hoop, and eventually, Rice kicked to Covington on the right-wing. His 3-point attempt hit off the iron and out of bounds with just 1.5 seconds left.
Wight led the Tribe with 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting, while Covington also scored in double figures with 11. Kochera and Blair both finished with seven points and eight rebounds.
Hampton’s Najee Garvin scored 14 of his game-high 20 points in the opening half as the Pirates led by as much as eight in the first 20 minutes. Garvin’s lay-up at the 3:01 mark gave the visitors a 28-20 advantage. The Tribe drew within four at the intermission on a Covington 3-pointer with six seconds remaining.
W&M scored the first four points of the second half to draw even at 30 on a Wight hook shot just over two minutes into the frame. Hampton responded with a 14-3 run to open up its largest lead of the game at 44-33 with 11:18 left on a Russell Dean free throw.
Hampton finished the day at 39.6% (21-of-53) from the field and just 2-of-14 from the 3-point range (14.3%). W&M shot 39.1% (18-of-46) from the floor and knocked down six 3-pointers. The Tribe though was just 11-of-21 (52.4%) at the free-throw line, including 7-of-14 in the decisive second half, and turned the ball over 18 times, including 13 in the first 20 minutes. W&M outrebounded the Pirates, 39-30.
Along with Garvin’s 20, Dajour Dickens and Dean added 11 and 10 points, respectively.
The Tribe wraps up a three-game homestand when its hosts Fairfield on Sunday, Dec. 12. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m. from Kaplan Arena and the game will be streamed on FloHoops. Tribe fans can catch the men’s basketball action over the Tribe Sports Network with Jay Colley and Bobby Dwyer on the call. Locally in Williamsburg, fans can listen in on The Tide 92.3 FM.