PHILADELPHIA — A man down in its conference opener, William & Mary was able to keep pace with Drexel thanks to its perimeter shooting. But the Tribe couldn’t pull it off down the stretch and left with a 66-56 loss in Philadelphia Saturday afternoon.
The Dragons closed with an 11-3 run to put away what was a two-point game with 6:40 remaining. With starting forward Noah Collier back in Williamsburg with an illness, W&M (5-9, 0-1 CAA) missed eight of its final nine shots.
The Tribe shot 38% from the floor and had 14 turnovers. But on 9-of-22 proficiency, W&M outscored the Dragons 27-3 from the 3-point arc. Drexel, which had made 36 threes in its previous three games, went 1-of-13 against the Tribe.
“I thought we really defended with good focus for the vast majority of the game,” Tribe coach Dane Fischer said. “We wanted to take away their ability to knock down threes, which we did really well.
“I thought we had a good flow offensively for some of the game. We just struggled to maintain that through the full course.”
Freshman Chase Lowe and Providence transfer Matteus Case had solid performances in their first career starts. Lowe had seven points, two rebounds, a blocked shot and a steal. Case finished with six points and career highs of six rebounds and three assists.
“Matteus has been shooting the ball really well in practice and he’s been in the gym a ton,” Fischer said. “It’s great to see those go down for him today.
“Chase did what he does really well by getting to the basket, defending and rebounding. They were both a positive for us.”
Collier’s absence hurt the Tribe on both ends but especially under the boards, where he’s the team’s leading rebounder at 8.6 per game. Drexel (8-6, 2-0 CAA) outrebounded the Tribe 41-27, 15-8 on the offensive end. The Dragons outscored W&M 40-16 in the paint.
Amari Williams, the reigning CAA Defensive Player of the Year, finished with 18 points, nine rebounds, six blocked shots and three steals.
“As we said to the team, over the course of a season, this happens,” Fischer said. “Everybody’s got to be ready to step up when their number is called. It hurts when any player is missing, but that can’t ever be an excuse.”
Powered by an 18-5 run, the Tribe took a 26-20 lead on Jack Karasinski’s 3-pointer with 5:07 remaining in the first half. But over the next 7½ minutes, overlapping into the second half, Drexel outscored the Tribe 18-4 for a 38-30 lead.
W&M regained the lead at 49-48 on Mullins’ layup with 9:12 remaining. The Tribe took its final lead on a Dorsey jumper that made it 51-50 with 8:14 to go.
The Tribe’s next game will be Thursday night against Northeastern at Kaplan Arena. The Huskies (5-8, 1-1 CAA) defeated North Carolina A&T in its conference opener Thursday but lost to Stony Brook 61-55 on Saturday.