Two of the top players in the country put on a show before a sell-out crowd at the Mack Sports Complex on Saturday evening. One day after being named to the top 10 for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award, junior Nathan Knight enjoyed the best scoring game for a William & Mary player in nearly 30 years and the fifth-best in program lore, but Jerry West Award finalist Justin Wright-Foreman scored 37 of his Colonial-Athletic Association record 48 points in the second half to rally league-leading Hofstra past the Tribe, 93-87.
Knight finished with a career-high 39 points on 16-of-24 shooting, including 7-of-10 at the free throw line. He added his seventh double-double in the last 10 games, 10th overall this season and fifth career 30-point, 10-rebound double-double with 14 rebounds. It was the best scoring game for a W&M player since Scott Smith netted 39 at George Mason in 1990. No W&M player has scored more than 39 points since Jeff Cohen’s school-record 49 against Richmond in 1961.
The Tribe (9-16, 5-8 CAA) led by four at the half and twice pushed the lead to double-digits early in the second half. Knight led the charge with 11 consecutive W&M points, and his free throw line jumper with 14:51 remaining gave the Green and Gold a 60-50 lead.
Wright-Foreman heated up early in the second-half knocking down a pair of 3-pointers and scored 10-straight Pride (21-4, 11-1 CAA) to put the home team in front for good at 73-71 with 7:10 remaining. He scored 22 of Hofstra’s final 30 points and 37 of their 53 points in total during the second half. Each time the Tribe pulled within a single possession, Wright-Foreman had the answer, including a back-breaking 3-pointer with 1:14 remaining to extend the Hofstra lead to 89-83.
W&M shot a season-high 58.1 percent (36-of-62) for the game, but the Pride held a 17-point cushion at the free throw line (27-10) outshooting the Tribe by 15 at the charity stripe. Hofstra connected on 7-of-14 from 3-point range in the second half and finished the game at 51.8 percent (29-of-56), including 60 percent (15-of-25) in the second half.
Along with Knight’s career effort, junior Justin Pierce flirted with a triple double, finishing with 13 points, nine rebounds and a career-high eight assists.
How It Happened
– The Tribe gained control early thanks to a 12-2 run. Freshman Chase Audige started the spurt with back-to-back dunks, including the second on the break after a steal. Knight converted two-straight 3-point plays, and law student Paul Rowley capped the run with a banking jumper to extend the Tribe lead to 20-13 with 12:14 remaining.
– W&M’s lead jumped to nine on back-to-back buckets from Pierce. His lay-up at the 10:49 mark ended a streak of nine-straight made field goals for W&M and gave the visitor a 24-15 lead.
– Hofstra scored 11 of the game’s next 16 points to draw within three. After back-to-back Eli Pemberton lay-ups, Desure Buie scored on a fast-break driving layup and a was fouled. He completed the 3-point play to cut the Tribe lead to 29-26 with 7:46 left.
– The Pride close to as little as two, 38-36, on a pair of Pemberton free throws at the 2:36 mark, but Knight responded with his fourth 3-point play of the first half to push the lead back to five with 57 seconds remaining. W&M led 44-40 at the intermission after shooting 57.6 percent (19-of-33) in the first half.
– W&M scored the first five points of the second half to push the lead to nine and force a Hofstra timeout just 1:32 into the period. Milon knocked down a left-wing 3-pointer before he found Pierce on the break for a dunk to give the Tribe a 49-40 lead.
– Knight scored 11-straight W&M points and twice pushed the lead to double-digits. The final time came on a free throw line jumper at the 14:51 mark to give the visitor a 60-50 advantage.
– Wright-Foreman scored seven-straight Hofstra points as part of a 10-3 run and a Buie 3-pointer at the 12:01 mark closed the gap to 63-60.
– The Pride pulled even on at 68 on a Wright-Foreman jumper with 8:27 remaining. In total he scored 10-straight Pride points to put the home team on top for the first time since early in the first half. He knocked down a 3-pointer to draw Hofstra even at 71 and added a pair of free throws with 7:10 left to give them the lead. A Buie lay-up gave the Pride seven points in a row and a 75-71 with 6:16 remaining.
– The teams traded shots, but every time the Tribe pulled within a possession, Hofstra answered. Audige found Knight for a lay-up and the Tribe big man was fouled. He could not complete the 3-point play that would have tied the game at 82 with 3:25 left.
– Wright-Foreman scored the Pride’s next five points and extend the Hofstra lead to 86-81 with 1:59 remaining.
– A Knight dunk less than 20 seconds later drew the Tribe within a possession for the final time at 86-83. Wright-Foreman hit a 3-pointer from the right corner with 1:14 remaining, and the Tribe could get no closer than four the rest of the way. Hofstra was 4-of-4 from the free throw line in the final 34 seconds.
Inside the Numbers
– The Tribe shot a season-high 58.1 percent (36-of-62) from the floor. After connected at a 57.6 percent (19-of-33) in the first half, W&M hit for 58.6 percent (17-of-29) in the second half.
– W&M dished out 24 assists on its 36 made field goals.
– The Tribe held a 33-29 advantage on the glass.
– Hofstra shot 51.8 percent (39-of-56) for the game, including 60 percent (15-of-25) in the second half.
– After going 1-of-8 from 3 in the first half, the Pride was 7-of-14 in the second half, including 6-of-10 from Wright-Foreman.
– Hofstra converted 16 W&M turnovers into 22 points.
– The Tribe held a 50-30 advantage on points in the paint.
Junior Nathan Knight scored a career-high 39 points … It was the fifth-most points in W&M and the most since Scott Smith had 39 at George Mason in 1990 … The last time a Tribe player scored more than 39 points was Jeff Cohen’s school-record 49 vs. Richmond in 1961 … The 39 points equaled the Tribe’s CAA single-game record … Knight tallied his 10th double-double of the season and seventh in the last 10 games … It was his fifth career 30-point, 10-rebound double-double and his third against Hofstra… W&M shot a season-high 58.1 percent (36-of-62) from the floor … The Tribe dished out 24 assists, marking its sixth games of 20 or more assists in CAA play and ninth overall this season … Knight’s 16 made field goals rank fifth in W&M history … Knight moved up to 18th on the Tribe’s career scoring list, passing Jim Moran with 1326 points … Junior Justin Pierce dished out a career-high eight assists … Freshman Chase Audige equaled a career-high with five assists.
– The Tribe travels to Elon on Saturday, Feb. 16, for its lone game next week to wrap up a three-game road trip. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. from the new Schar Center.
– The game will be broadcast online at CAA.TV.
– The contest will be broadcast online at 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.
The Chesapeake Bank Tony Shaver Show returns on Monday night, Feb. 11, at Paul’s Deli in Williamsburg. The weekly 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 will host the broadcast from Paul’s Deli at 761 Scotland Street in Williamsburg. Shows will be held Mondays 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 Feb. 11 show live online.