Saturday, June 15, 2024

Dominant First Half Leads Men’s Basketball to Best CAA Start in 20 Years

Dominant First Half Leads Men’s Basketball to Best CAA Start in 20 Years (Courtesy photo/Tribe Athletics)

The William & Mary men’s basketball team used a torrid shooting first half to start 3-0 in Colonial Athletic Association play for the first time since 1998 thanks to a 90-65 win at Delaware on Friday evening. The Green and Gold (10-4, 3-0 CAA) shot 65.6 percent in the opening 20 minutes, and sophomore Nathan Knight tallied his third-straight double-double with 25 points and 11 rebounds.
 
Senior Connor Burchfield and sophomore Nathan Knight combined for a quick 8-0 run to break the contest open early in the first half. Each knocked down a 3-pointer before Burchfield dished to Knight for a lay-up that extended the Tribe cushion to 21-13 and forced a Delaware (8-8, 1-2 CAA) timeout just over seven minutes into the contest.
 
Knight (8) and fellow sophomore Matt Milon (5) scored 13-straight Tribe points as part of a 16-1 run to push the advantage over 20 points. Senior guard David Cohn spun along the right side of the lane, drew the foul and scored to cap the spurt. His free throw to complete the old-fashion 3-point play boosted the Green and Gold margin to 46-24 with 1:54 left in the first half.
 
The Tribe wasted little time putting any thought of a comeback to rest scoring the first seven points of the second half and quickly pushing the margin over 30. Knight converted an old-fashion 3-point play on Tribe’s first possession of the second half, and Cohn found Pierce for a cutting lay-up in transition to extend the margin to 56-28 just a 1:16 into the second half. W&M led by as many as 32 on multiple occasions in the second half on the way to its third-straight league win.
 
Individual Player Spotlight 
Sophomore Nathan Knight recorded his sixth double-double of the season with 25 points on 10-of-11 from the field to go along with 11 rebounds. Classmate Matt Milon tallied 22 points for the third time in his Tribe career, hitting 8-of-10 from the field, including 6-of-8 from 3.
 
Sophomore Ryan Daly led Delaware with 21 points, while Darian Bryant and Skye Johnson each tallied 10 apiece.
 
Inside the Numbers 
– The Tribe connected on 15-of-19 (78.9 percent) from two-point range in the first half on the way to its 65.6 percent (21-of-32) in the first half. W&M finished the night at 59.6 percent (34-of-57) from the field, its 10th game of 50 percent or better on the year.
 
– The Green and Gold connected on double-digit 3-pointers for the seventh time this season with 11 triples. W&M shot 47.6 percent (11-of-23) from distance in the victory.
 
– W&M hit 11-of-12 from the free throw line, finishing up at a season-high 91.7 percent. The Tribe has shot 80 percent or better from the charity stripe in nine of the 14 games, including all three CAA contests. W&M is shooting 84.1 percent (53-of-63) at the free throw line in CAA play.
 
– Defensively, the Tribe limited Delaware to 40.7 percent (24-of-59) from the floor, including just 2-of-12 (16.7 percent) from 3-point range.
 
Notes 
W&M started 3-0 in CAA play for the third time in school history, joining the 1994-95 and 1997-98 teams. The best CAA start in program lore is 4-0 in 1997-98.

Sophomore Nathan Knight recorded his third-straight double-double and is averaging 24 points and 11.3 rebounds per game in league action.

Sophomore Matt Milon tied a career-high with six 3-pointers and his eight made field goals were a career best.

Sophomore Justin Pierce just missed his fifth double-double of the season with 11 points and nine rebounds.

Senior David Cohn scored in double figures for the third game in a row with 13 points on 6-of-10 shooting. He is averaging 18.7 points per game in CAA play.

W&M has won five straight in the series with Delaware and is averaging 88.2 points per game with an average margin of victory at 22.2 points during the stretch.
 
Up Next 
The Tribe wraps up its three-game road swing at Drexel on Sunday, Jan. 7, at 4 p.m. The game will be broadcast online at CAA.TV. Tribe fans can catch the men’s basketball action over the Tribe Radio Network with Jay Colley 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. The Dragons are coming off an 87-82 win over previous CAA unbeaten Charleston at home on Friday night.

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