The William & Mary men’s basketball team battled back and forth with reigning Colonial Athletic Association Champion Charleston for the majority of Saturday afternoon at TD Arena. The Cougars (16-6, 5-4 CAA) held off a strong Tribe start to the second half by shooting 57.1 percent in the final 20 minutes, including 4-of-6 from 3-point range, to pick up a 74-59 victory at TD Arena.
Juniors Justin Pierce and Nathan Knight led the Tribe (7-14, 3-6 CAA) with 18 points apiece. Knight added a team-high seven rebounds, a career-high tying six assists and four blocks to his stat line. Pierce, who came off the bench for just the second time this season, chipped in six rebounds.
The Tribe jumped out to a 17-12 lead eight minutes into the game thanks in large part to hitting six of its first nine shots. The Cougars took a five-point cushion into the locker room, 33-28, scoring seven of the final nine points of the first half.
W&M started the second half strong scoring seven of the first nine points to draw even at 35. The Tribe took a 44-42 lead on a Knight lay-up with 12:28 to play.
Charleston answered with a 10-0 run sparked by Jarrell Brantley and Grant Riller to take a lead it would not relinquish. A Knight 3-point play with five minutes remaining cut the margin to 62-57, but the Cougars scored 12-straight points, including eight from Riller, to put the game away.
Riller led all scorers with 24 points, while Brantley added an 18-point, 11-rebound double-double.
How It Happened
– The Tribe used a 7-0 run to open up a four-point lead just six and a half minute into the contest. After back-to-back Charleston buckets, sophomore Luke Loewe started the run with a pull-up jumper. Junior Matt Milon canned a right wing 3-pointers before lobbing a pass to Knight for a lay-up, extending W&M’s lead to 12-8 at the 13:35 mark.
– The Tribe hit six of its first nine shots, and freshman Chase Audige’s 3-pointer from the right side pushed W&M’s lead to 17-12 with 12:09 left in the first half.
– Charleston answered with six in a row to retake the lead. Sam Miller put back his own miss at the 8:34 mark to give the home team an 18-17 lead.
– Pierce scored seven Tribe points in a row and pulled the Green and Gold even at 22 on a 3-pointer with 5:51 left in the half.
– The Cougars scored seven of the first half’s final nine points to take a five-point cushion into the locker room. Marquies Pointer knocked down a left corner triple to start the run, and Riller drilled a buzzer-beating trey from the top of the key to give CofC a 33-28 lead at the half.
– The Tribe scored seven of the first nine out of the locker room to draw even. Milon canned a 3-pointer to start the scoring, and Knight found Loewe for an easily lay-up to tie the game at 35 nearly four minutes into the second half.
– W&M scored five in a row to take the lead at the 12:38 mark. Pierce knocked down a left corner 3 to tie the game at 42 before a Knight layup gave the Green and Gold the lead.
– Charleston answered with a 10-0 run. Brantley scored five points on the run including an old-fashion 3-point play to put the Cougars on top, 47-44. Riller capped the spurt with a 3-pointer from the right side to force a W&M timeout and give the home team a 52-44 advantage with 10:23 left.
– The Tribe scored four in a row on Milon lay-up and a Knight dunk to cut the gap to four, 52-48, just a minute later.
– Riller answered with a jumper and Brantley followed with a deep 3-pointer in transition to push the lead to 57-48 with 8:04 remaining.
– The Tribe closed within five points, 62-57, on a Knight old-fashion 3-point play along the right baseline with five minutes left.
– Riller scored eight points in a row, including back-to-back 3-point plays, as part of a 12-0 CofC run to put the game out of reach.
Inside the Numbers
– Charleston finished the game at 50.9 percent (28-of-55) shooting, including 57.1 percent (16-of-28) in the second half.
– CofC was 6-of-14 (42.9 percent) from 3-point range and hit 4-of-6 in the second half.
– W&M shot 43.4 percent (23-of-53) from the field and just 31.6 percent (6-of-19) from 3-point range.
– Charleston outrebounded the Tribe, 33-28, and held a 36-32 advantage in points in the paint.
– After turning the ball over eight times in the first half, W&M had just four in the second 20 minutes. Charleston took advantage of the Tribe miscues with a 10-8 advantage in points off turnovers.
Junior Nathan Knight scored in double figures for the 14th straight game … He tied a career-high with six assists for the second time this weekend and fifth time overall … Knight blocked four shots in a game for the fourth time this season and sits in second place on the Tribe’s career blocked shots list with 143 … With his 18 points, Knight moved into 20th place on the Tribe career scoring list with 1,238 passing Randy Bracy (1996-99) … Freshman Chase Audige tied a career-high with seven rebounds … Freshman L.J. Owens made his eighth start on the season and finished with a career-high five rebounds … Junior Matt Milon scored in double-digits for 11th time in last 13 games and the eighth time in nine CAA contests.
– The Green and Gold returns home to welcome Drexel to Williamsburg on Thursday, Jan. 31. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. from Kaplan Arena.
– The game will be streamed online in HD on Tribe Athletics TV via Stretch Internet.
– 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
Fans will have a pair of opportunities to catch up on Tribe basketball to start the week with the return of both the Chesapeake Bank Tony ShaverShow on Monday, Jan. 28, and the January edition of ‘Luncheon with Tony’ on Tuesday.
The ‘Luncheon with Tony’ series featuring head coach Tony Shaver is held at Anna’s Brick Oven and gives fans an inside look at Tribe basketball. The luncheon will include a buffet for $13.50. Anna’s Brick Oven is located at 2021 Richmond Road in Williamsburg. The ‘Luncheon with Tony’ series provides fans the opportunity to get Coach Shaver’s thoughts on the Tribe’s season and upcoming games as well as talk W&M basketball with select Tribe players and the Green and Gold coaching staff.
The Chesapeake Bank Tony Shaver Show begins on-site at 6:30 p.m., with the live interview airing from 7-7:30 p.m. Longtime Tribe play-by-play announcer Jay Colley hosts the broadcast from Paul’s Deli at 761 Scotland Street in Williamsburg. Shows will be held Mondays from Jan. 7 through Feb. 25. The Chesapeake Bank Tony Shaver Show can be heard over the flagship stations of the Tribe Radio Network at 92.3 FM The Tide and 107.9 Bach FM. It will be streamed online at TribeAthletics.com as well. Click HERE to listen to the Jan. 28 show live online.