Saturday, June 15, 2024

Juniors spark W&M men’s basketball to road win at Elon

The Tribe finally received that effort on Saturday night at Elon as the trio of Nathan Knight, Matt Milon and Justin Pierce combined for 72 points in the Green and Gold's 84-74 victory at the Schar Center. (WYDaily/Courtesy Tribe Athletics)
The Tribe finally received that effort on Saturday night at Elon as the trio of Nathan Knight, Matt Milon and Justin Pierce combined for 72 points in the Green and Gold’s 84-74 victory at the Schar Center. (WYDaily/Courtesy Tribe Athletics)

William & Mary waited for the night when its junior class would click on all cylinders. The Tribe finally received that effort on Saturday night at Elon as the trio of Nathan KnightMatt Milon and Justin Pierce combined for 72 points in the Green and Gold’s 84-74 victory at the Schar Center.

Knight, who tallied a first-half double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds, finished with 35 points on 13-of-20 shooting and 9-of-11 at the free throw line. It marked second-straight game of least 35 points after a career-high 39 at Hofstra last week. He became the first player in W&M history with back-to-back 35-point games. Knight added 13 rebounds for his eighth double-double in the last 11 games and 11th overall this season.

Both Milon and Pierce came up big in the final 20 minutes as the Tribe erased a four-point halftime deficit. Milon scored 16 of his 19 points in the final frame, including four 3-pointers, while Pierce added 12 of his 18 in the second half. Pierce posted his eighth double-double of the year with 12 rebounds to go along with a game-high six assists compared to just one turnover.

W&M (10-16, 6-8 CAA) seized control midway through the second half thanks to a 7-0 run where its defense sparked its offense. All seven points came in transition, and a Milon steal led to a Luke Loewe lay-up to extend the Tribe a 62-55 lead with 10:41 remaining.

Elon (8-19, 4-10 CAA) pulled within two, 72-70, with just over six minutes remaining. The Tribe responded with a defensive stop on 12 of the Phoenix’s final 15 possessions and held the home team to just four points over the final six minutes. The Tribe used a 7-0 run to push the lead to its final margin of 10 with just a minute remaining.

How It Happened 
– Knight scored 19 of W&M’s first 21 points, including 14 straight at one point. Pierce found Knight for a lay-up to give the Tribe a 13-12 lead just over five minutes into the game.
– Elon moved in front with back-to-back buckets from Nathan Priddy and Sheldon Eberhardt. The margin jumped to four, 19-15, on an Andy Pack 3-point play at the 9:42 mark.
– The Tribe used an 8-0 run to swing the moment and take the lead. Freshman Audige started the run with a steal and fast-break dunk before Pierce knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers. On the second of the sequence, Pierce knocked the ball away on the defensive end and Audige found him for a top-of-the-key triple to extend the Tribe lead to 27-23 and force an Elon timeout with 5:59 left in the first half.
– The Phoenix moved back in front thanks to a 7-0 run. Kris Wooten knocked down a 3-pointer from the left side to tie the contest at 32. Eberhardt and Tyler Seibring, who finished with a 17-point, 14-rebound double-double, converted on back-to-back buckets to give the home team a 36-32 lead with 55 seconds remaining in the first half.
– W&M scored the first four points out of the locker room to tie the game just over a minute into the period. Elon responded with five in a row to take a 43-38 lead with 18:10 left on a Charles Hannah lay-up.
– Milon knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers, one from each corner, to give W&M a one-point lead, 44-43, just a minute later.
– Two-straight Priddy jumpers pulled the Phoenix even at 55, but W&M answered with a 7-0 run to force another Elon timeout. All seven came in transition, including the final four from Loewe. Milon’s steal led to a fast-break lay-up for Loewe to give W&M a 62-55 lead with 10:41 left.
– Seibring knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers to close the Phoenix within 66-63 at the 8:46 mark. The margin was just two, 72-70, with 6:02 remaining following a pair of Eberhardt free throws.
– W&M turned it on defensively, stopping Elon on 12 of its final 15 possession and limiting the Phoenix to just four points over the final six minutes.
– The Tribe scored seven-straight points to put the game away and push its lead to the final margin of 10. Knight scored on back-to-back buckets in the paint to jump-start the run. His sweeping hook, splitting an Elon double team, with 1:50 remaining extended the Tribe lead to 79-72. In the end, the Tribe hit 5-of-6 from the free throw line over the final 1:20 of the game to preserve the victory.

Inside the Numbers 
– The Tribe shot 51.6 percent (16-of-31) in the second half to finish the game at 45.3 percent (29-of-64) overall.
– W&M connected on 5-of-8 from 3-point range in the final 20 minutes and finished the contest at 47.1 percent (8-of-17).
– The Green and Gold was 18-of-24 (75 percent) at the charity stripe, outscoring the Phoenix by 11 points at the line. The 18 made free throws were a season-high in CAA play and the second most this season.
– The Tribe outscored Elon in the paint by a wide margin, 38-22.
– W&M converted 16 Elon turnovers into 24 points. On the flip side, the Tribe turned it over just nine times, including three in the second half.
– Elon finished the game at 41.8 percent (28-of-67) from the floor, including 11-of-35 (31.4 percent) from 3-point range.
– W&M recorded a season-high 10 steals against the Phoenix.

Notes 
Junior Nathan Knight recorded his eighth double-double in the last 11 games and his 11th overall this season … Knight’s 11 double-doubles are the most for a W&M player in a season since Todd Cauthorn had 11 in 1992-93 … Knight scored 35 points, giving him back-to-back 30-point points after his career-high 39 at Hofstra on Feb. 9 … His 35 points are tied for 18th in W&M history … He is the fifth player in W&M history with back-to-back 30-point games and the first since Daniel Dixon in 2017 … Knight is the first player in W&M history to score 35 or more points in back-to-back games … He is seventh player in W&M history with multiple 35-point games in a career and the fourth with two 35-point games in the same season … With his 35 on the night, Knight moved past Scott Smith (1339), Ed McMillan (1340), Adam Hess (1341) and Daniel Dixon (1355) into 14th on the Tribe’s career scoring list with 1361 points … Junior Matt Milon scored 16 of his 19 points in the second half … He connected on five 3-pointers for the fifth time this season and ninth time in his career … Junior Justin Pierce tallied 12 of his 18 points in the second half … He added 13 rebounds, including nine in the second half, for his eighth double-double of the season and the 15th of his career … W&M tallied a season-high 10 steals, including a career-high tying four from freshman Chase Audige … Audige also added a career-high three blocked shots.

Up Next 
– The Tribe returns to Kaplan Arena for its final two regular season games next week. The Green and Gold welcomes Charleston to Williamsburg on Thursday, Feb. 21, at 7 p.m., before wrapping up the home slate for UNCW on Saturday, Feb. 23, at 4 p.m.
– The W&M-Charleston game will be broadcast online at College Sports Live.
– Saturday’s game with the Seahawks 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. 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.
– Saturday’s game will also mark Senior Day for W&M as the program honors Paul Rowley and Chris Clark for their contributions to the program.

The Chesapeake Bank Tony Shaver Show returns on Monday night, Feb. 18, 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. 18 show live online.

Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing is the Assistant Editor at WYDaily. Sarah was born in the state of Maine, grew up along the coast, and attended college at the University of Maine at Orono. Sarah left Maine in October 2015 when she was offered a job at a newspaper in West Point, Va. Courts, crime, public safety and civil rights are among Sarah’s favorite topics to cover. She currently covers those topics in Williamsburg, James City County and York County. Sarah has been recognized by other news organizations, state agencies and civic groups for her coverage of a failing fire-rescue system, an aging agriculture industry and lack of oversight in horse rescue groups. In her free time, Sarah enjoys lazing around with her two cats, Salazar and Ruth, drinking copious amounts of coffee and driving places in her white truck.

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