Friday, June 14, 2024

William & Mary stage 2nd half comeback to beat Drexel, 75-69

The Tribe knocked off Drexel 84-66 in Philadelphia, but dropped games to Hofstra, Northeastern, Elon, North Carolina Wilmington and Charleston. (WYDaily/Courtesy of Tribe Athletics)
The Tribe knocked off Drexel 84-66 in Philadelphia, but dropped games to Hofstra, Northeastern, Elon, North Carolina Wilmington and Charleston. (WYDaily/Courtesy of Tribe Athletics)

The final 20 minutes inside Kaplan Arena on Thursday night had all the earmarks of everything head coach Tony Shaver has been searching for out of his club.

William & Mary turned it on defensively, including a number of massive effort plays, received a balanced scoring attack and when it faced adversity, the Tribe rose to the challenge in a 75-69 victory over Drexel, snapping a five-game losing streak in the process.

Trailing 65-64 with 4:05 remaining, the Green and Gold (8-14, 4-6 CAA) buckled down defensively and held the visitors without a field goal for the remainder of the contest while scoring seven-straight points on the other end.

Junior Nathan Knight found classmate Justin Pierce for a cutting lay-up with just over two minutes left to put the Tribe on top for good.

On back-to-back possessions, Pierce and freshman Chase Audige came up with blocked shots on the perimeter contesting 3-pointers when the Dragons (10-13, 4-6 CAA) had a chance to retake the lead and pull even. Sandwiched in the middle was an Audige basket to extend the lead to three before Pierce provided the dagger with 36 seconds left. His top-of-the-key 3-pointer gave W&M a 71-65 lead.

Audige led the Tribe with 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting to go with career-highs of eight rebounds and four steals. His plus/minus showed the rookie guard’s impact as the Tribe outscored the Dragons by 16 points in his 36 minutes.

Pierce finished with 16 points, while Knight added an impressive all-around stat line of 14 points, a career-high 15 rebounds, five assists and six blocked shots. Freshman L.J. Owens, who was 4-of-4 at the free throw line in the final 20 seconds to preserve the win, rounded out the double-digit scorers with 13 points.

Drexel shot 58.6 percent (17-of-29) in the first half and jumped out to as much as a 10-point lead in the opening 20 minutes. The Tribe responded out of the locker room scoring 17 of the second half’s first 21 points to move in front.

W&M’s lead ballooned to nine points, 60-51, midway through the frame as Pierce found sophomore Luke Loewe for a fast-break lay-up to force a Drexel timeout. The Dragons did not go quietly answering with a 12-2 run to retake the lead on a pair of Troy Harper free throws with 5:12 remaining.

Over the final 20 minutes, the Tribe limited Drexel to just 32.1 percent (9-of-28) shooting from the field and only 30 points. Freshman Camren Wynter led the Dragons with 17 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, while James Butler turned in a 16-point, 11-rebound double-double.

How It Happened 
– Drexel led early, 6-3, thanks to a pair of Butler buckets before the Tribe used a 7-0 run to take the lead. Law student Paul Rowley put W&M in front with a banking jumper from the left side before a putback old-fashion 3-point play from Knight extended the margin to 10-6 with 13:37 left.
– The Dragons answered with a 12-0 run to open up a 20-13 lead with 9:19 to play. Jarvis Doles scored six on the run, knocking down a left wing 3-pointer and adding a 3-point play. Butler’s putback capped the run and extended the margin to seven.
– W&M closed to within one thanks to an 8-2 spurt. Pierce’s 3-pointer at the 5:43 mark cut the deficit to 22-21.
– Drexel scored seven straight as part of an 11-2 run to push the lead to double-digits. Wynter ignited the spurt with a left-wing 3-pointer, while a pair of Doles’ free throws extended the lead to 29-21. After a Knight bucket, Butler scored four in a row as the lead reached double figures for the first time at 33-23 with 2:09 left.
– The Tribe closed to 37-31 on back-to-back 3-pointers from Audige and Loewe, but Drexel led by eight at the break as Butler scored on a lob right before the half-time horn.
– W&M roared out of the gates in the second half, scoring 17 of the period’s first 21. Audige (5) and Knight (5) scored W&M’s first 10 points of the period, including a steal and fast-break layup from the former to cut the deficit to 42-41 just over four and a half minutes into the frame.
– The Tribe scored seven in a row to open up a five-point lead. Owens sparked the spurt with a pair of driving lay-up, including the second resulting in a 3-point play off an Audige steal to give W&M a 48-43 lead with 13:19 left.
– Starting with Owens’ 3-point play, W&M hit six shots in a row to extend the lead to its largest at nine. Pierce drove the lane for a thunderous dunk and then found Loewe on the break for a layup to give W&M a 60-51 advantage and force a Drexel timeout at the 9:40 mark.
– The Dragons responded by scoring eight in a row as part of a 12-2 run to move back in front. Trevor John and Troy Harper capped the spurt with 3-pointers to cut the W&M lead to 60-59 with 8:03 left.  A pair of Harper free throws at the 5:12 mark put Drexel on top 63-62.
– After a Wynter driving layup at the 4:05 mark gave the Dragons a 65-64 lead, the Tribe held Drexel on without a field goal for the remainder of the contest. On the other end, W&M scored seven in a row to open up a six-point lead with 36 seconds remaining.
– Knight found Pierce for a lay-up to give W&M the lead for good with 2:04 remaining. Both Pierce and Audige blocked 3-point attempts from Drexel on back-to-back possessions before Pierce provided the capper with a top-of-the-key 3-pointer with 36 seconds to give W&M a 71-65 advantage.
– Owens closed out the Tribe scoring, going 4-of-4 from the free throw line while facing 1-and-1 situations.

Inside the Numbers 
– The Tribe shot 57.7 percent (15-of-26) from the field in the second half to finish the game at 46.6 percent (27-of-58) overall.
– W&M attempted a season-low 14 3-pointers on the night. After hitting 5-of-10 in the first half, the Tribe connected on just one triple, Justin Pierce’s dagger with 36 seconds left, on four attempts in the final 20 minutes.
– Defensively, the Green and Gold limited Drexel to 32.1 percent (9-of-28) shooting in the second half after the Dragons connected on 58.6 percent (17-of-29) in the first frame. Overall, the visitors connected on 45.6 percent from the field.
– The Tribe outrebounded Drexel, 34-31.
– After Drexel held a 20-10 advantage in points in the paint in the first half, W&M outscored them, 28-4, in the second.
– W&M finished with 10 blocked shots on the night. It marked the most for a team in CAA play this season.

Notes 
The Tribe won for the eighth time in the last 12 meetings with Drexel and swept the season series … W&M snapped a three-game Dragons’ win streak in Williamsburg … Junior Nathan Knight picked up his fifth double-double in the last seven games and eighth overall this season … The 15 rebounds marked a career-high for Knight … He blocked six shots in a game for the third time this season and seventh in his career … Knight’s 47 blocked shots this season ranked eighth in school history … Knight has led the Tribe in assists in six-straight games … Freshman Chase Audige tallied career-highs with four steals and eight rebounds … Audige led W&M in scoring for the second time in the last three games … The Tribe’s 10 blocked shots were the most in a CAA game for W&M since it had 10 against Hofstra at home last season (Dec. 30, 2017) … Freshman L.J. Owens scored in double figures for the ninth time this season and fourth in CAA play … W&M overcame a deficit when trailing with five minutes to go for the first time this season … The Tribe overcame a double-digit deficit for the third time this season in picking up a win and the 29th time under head coach Tony Shaver.

Up Next 
– W&M hosts its annual Gold Rush Game on Saturday, Feb. 2, with a 4 p.m. tip-off against Delaware.
– The first 500 fans and 500 students in attendance at the men’s game will receive a free gold t-shirt courtesy of Wren Traditions. Fans in the lower bowl will receive a pom-pom to help cheer on the Tribe. Halftime will feature the Diaper Derby courtesy of Yankee Candle.
– The Gold Rush Game will be broadcast on Cox Communications in Virginia with Jay Colley and Charlie Woollum on the call. The game will be available throughout Hampton Roads on YurView Virginia, Cox’s channel 1011, while additional outlets include Fairfax County (1074), Fredericksburg (1077) and Roanoke (1009). The game will be available in other Cox markets, checking your local listings for details. It will also be available online at Tribe Athletics TV and CAA.TV.
– Tribe fans can catch the men’s basketball action over the Tribe Radio Network with Andrew Phillipsand Julie Leach 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.

John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzohttp://wydaily.com
John Mangalonzo (john@localdailymedia.com) is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.

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