Thursday, June 13, 2024

Clutch plays rally men’s basketball to CAA opening win over Hofstra

Video: Tribe men’s basketball Coach Tony Shaver’s post-game interview (Courtesy Tribe Athletics)

WILLIAMSBURG – The Tribe took home its first CAA win over Hofstra Saturday afternoon via clutch plays from its starting five.

All five of the men’s basketball team starters made important plays in the final 30 seconds. That included senior Connor Burchfield, via the three, and sophomore Nathan Knight, who had the game-winning block.

William & Mary won 90-87. The Tribe is now 8-4 overall and 1-0 in the CAA.

William & Mary erased a pair of deficits in the game’s final half minute. The final time came on Burchfield’s second-straight 3-pointer with 6.8 seconds remaining, and Knight swatted a Kenny Wormley attempt at the rim in three ticks left to preserve the victory.

The Green and Gold stared an opening league loss in the face with 29.5 seconds remaining as the Pride (7-6, 0-1 CAA) held an 85-82 lead with possession. Sophomore Justin Pierce came up with a steal to give W&M the ball, and out of a timeout, Burchfield delivered the first of his clutch triples to knot the contest at 85 with 24 seconds remaining.

The CAA’s leading scorer Justin Wright-Foreman briefly put Hofstra back in front on a driving lay-up with 14 ticks left. Senior guard David Cohn sprinted up the left side of the court, finding Burchfield in the corner. With Hofstra guard Eli Pemberton draped on him, the Concord, N.C., native let fly and buried a huge 3-pointer to give William & Mary the lead for good at 88-87.

Wormley raced into the lane on the other end, but was denied at the rim by Knight’s eighth rejection of the contest. Sophomore Matt Milon pulled down the rebound and calmly hit a pair of free throws after being fouled to push the margin to 90-87.

Pierce knocked the ball away from Wright-Foreman on the Pride’s final possession, and Cohn came up the steal to preserve the win.

The Tribe opened up as much as a 13-point first half advantage. William & Mary connected on eight-straight shots at one point as part of an 11-of-12 stretch. The Green and Gold capped the sequence with a 10-0 run as Cohn and Pierce combined for all 10 points.

A pair of Paul Rowley free throws at the 3:32 mark extended the cushion to 39-26. Hofstra closed to within four, 45-41, at the half thanks to an 8-0 run highlighted by five straight from Wright-Foreman.

The Pride final pulled even on a trio of Wright-Foreman free throws with 11:49 in the second half. Hofstra eventually moved in front with five-straight points, including the final four from Wright-Foreman, who tallied a game-high 36 points. His jumper at the 8:10 mark gave the visitors a 67-65 cushion.

Player highlights

  • Sophomore Nathan Knight just missed a triple-double, tallying his third 30-point, 10-rebound double-double of the season with a career-high tying 31 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. He also blocked eight shots, the fourth most in W&M history. The rejection total was the eighth best in the NCAA this season and the most in the CAA.
  • Knight also recorded his fourth double-double of the season, including his third 30/10 double-double and his eight blocks were a career-high and the fourth-best total in program history.
  • Senior David Cohn tallied a career-high 26 points on 8-of-14 shooting, including 2-of-5 from 3-point range, to go along with a perfect 8-of-8 from the free throw line. He recorded seven assists, including one on each of the Tribe’s final three baskets.
  • Justin Wright-Foreman topped the Pride with 36 points on 11-of-22 shooting, including 3-of-10 from 3-point range. He was a near perfect 11-of-12 at the free throw line to go with four assists.

Team highlights

The Tribe continued its torrid shooting pace, hitting on 53.4 percent (31-of-58) from the field.

William & Mary connected on 58.3 percent (14-of-24) in the second half, including hitting each of its final four shots.

William & Mary dished out 21 assists in the victory. It marked W&M’s sixth game of 20 or more assists in the last nine games and third contest in a row.

One of the top free throw shooting teams in the country, the Green and Gold connected on 80 percent (20-of-25) at the charity stripe against the Pride It marked William & Mary’s seventh game of shooting 80 percent or better from the free throw line in a game this season.

William & Mary out-rebounded an opponent for the fifth time this season, holding a 36-34 advantage on the glass. Along with Knight’s 11 rebounds, fellow sophomore Justin Pierce pulled down eight rebounds.

Up next

The Tribe hits the road to open up a three-game road swing at James Madison on Tuesday, Jan. 2. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m., and the game will be broadcast on College Sports Live.

Tribe fans can catch the men’s basketball action over the Tribe Radio Network with Jay Colley and Charlie Woollum on the call. The Tide 92.3 FM and 107.9 Bach FM are the flagship stations of the Tribe Radio Network and the audio is also available over the Web at TribeAthletics.com.

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