WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a back-and-forth game that featured 15 ties and 19 lead changes, William & Mary came up on the short end, falling to American, 71-64, on Wednesday night at Bender Arena.
Neither team led by more than three points through the opening 16 minutes of the second half. Noah Collier’s driving dunk with seven minutes left tied the game for a final time at 57.
The Tribe had a great look from sophomore Gabe Dorsey just two minutes later with chance to take the lead, but his wing 3-pointer just rimed out.
American (1-2) took the lead for good on a Matt Rogers free throw at the 4:41 mark, and after he split a pair at the line a minute later, Jaxon Knotek putback the miss to extend the margin to four, 61-57.
A pair of Chris Mullins free throws with 2:55 left drew W&M (1-3) within a bucket. On the defensive end, Mullins intercepted a pass and started the break, but freshman Jack Karasinski’s open 3-point look that would have put the Tribe back in front was off the mark. American’s Geoff Sprouse scored on a driving lay-up on the other end less than 10 second later to push the lead back to four, 63-59, with just two minutes left. American made all eight free throws over the final 1:22 to pull out the victory.
Dorsey led the Tribe with a career-high 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting, including 4-of-6 from 3. Collier recorded his first career double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
It was a tale of two halves as both team’s exploded offensively in the first half, before the defenses took hold in the final 20 minutes. W&M limited American to 37.5% shooting in the second half and just 1-of-8 from 3, while the Eagles held the Tribe to 33.3% from the floor.
The first half was the opposite as American shot 60%, including 5-of-8 from distance, and the Tribe countered at 48.3% from the floor and 4-of-8 from 3.
The teams traded big runs in the opening 20 minutes before trading buckets to end the half. After a Karasinski 3-pointer gave W&M a 10-9 lead at the 13:41 mark, American used a 10-0 run to take its largest lead, 19-10, on a Sprouse 3-pointer midway through the first half.
W&M countered with a 14-2 run led by Dorsey. The sophomore wing scored 10 points during the spurt, including a corner 3-pointer with 5:45 remaining to give the Tribe a 24-21 advantage.
A Jermaine Ballisager Webb lay-up with less than a minute left sent the home team to the locker room with a 38-37 lead.
American finished the game at 49% from the field (24-of-49) and 17-of-20 (85%) from the free throw line. On the other side, W&M was 42% (21-of-50) overall, 6-of-15 from 3-point range and 16-of-22 at the free throw line (72.7%).
All five Eagle starters scored in double figures led by Johnny O’Neil’s game-high 17 points. Elijah Stephens added 14 points and six assists.
The Tribe returns home to face its second-straight Patriot League opponent when it welcomes Army to Kaplan Arena on Saturday, Nov. 19. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m. The game will be televised regionally and in the state on Cox YurView. Fans can also stream the broadcast on FloHoops.