Friday, January 27, 2023

Tribe Scribe: After strong start, William & Mary falls to N.C. State

(Tribe Athletics)

RALEIGH — Facing another Atlantic Coast Conference opponent on the road, William & Mary did more than just hang around for a while. The Tribe had a two-point lead nine minutes into the game and trailed by six with 4:51 remaining in the first half.

But N.C. State dominated from there for an 85-64 win Tuesday night in Raleigh, N.C. The Tribe (3-5) shot a season-low 38.6% from the floor and committed a season-high 17 turnovers in falling to 0-3 against ACC teams this season.

“I thought we came out and competed hard in the first half,” W&M coach Dane Fischer said. “Then we took some quick shots and had some uncharacteristic turnovers, which allowed them to get out in transition.

“In the second half, we couldn’t get into a rhythm on offense. And I thought our offense really hurt our defense tonight.”

Noah Collier was a bright spot for William & Mary with 12 points on 6-of-11 shooting and 11 rebounds, his second career double-double. He also had two blocked shots and two steals.

Gabe Dorsey had nine points on 3-of-7 shooting from the arc. Chris Mullins finished with 8 points.

Ben Wight, coming off a career-high 24 points last week at Pittsburgh, played only seven minutes Tuesday night. He came out with 10:07 left in the first half and didn’t return, although he watched the remainder of the game from the bench.

“He got banged up in practice the other day,” Fischer said. “We were hoping he’d be able to go today. He gave it a shot in the first half and wasn’t quite there, so we thought it was best to rest him. We don’t think it’s anything significant.”

N.C. State (7-1) shot 49% overall and 43% (12 of 28) from the 3-point arc. The Wolfpack had five players in double figures led by Casey Morsell with 23.

“They are the quickest team we’ve played,” Fischer said. “Those guards are really elite offensive players. What they probably don’t get enough attention for is how good defensively they are.

“It was hard to break free from them. They were tough to play against.”

Playing three ACC teams in the same season for the first time since 2009-10, the Tribe lost each game by double digits. But it also had positive moments in each.

On Nov. 13 at defending ACC champion Virginia Tech, W&M outscored the Hokies in the second half 42-37. Last week at Pittsburgh, the Tribe led 37-33 at halftime. And nine minutes into Tuesday night’s game at PNC Arena, the Tribe led 19-17.

“It’s always good to test yourself against that level of athleticism and talent,” Fischer said. “In each game we played, there were things we did really well that built some confidence. And there have been a couple of areas where we’ve been able to say, ‘Hey, we’ve got to really improve this.’

“There’s a lot we’ve learned from these games. The chance to compete against that type of talent is always good.”

It didn’t change the result, but William & Mary finished the game by outscoring N.C. State 17-1 in the final 3:52. Freshman Chase Lowe and Jake Milkereit had six points each in the closing stretch.

After consecutive road games against ACC teams, W&M will return to Kaplan Arena Saturday night against Richmond from the Atlantic 10. The Spiders are 3-3 entering Wednesday night’s game at Toledo.

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