Sunday, January 29, 2023

No. 18 Charleston jumps on Tribe early in CAA Win

(Tribe Athletics)

CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA — Two nights after posting a gritty win at UNCW, William & Mary hoped to keep the momentum going at the College of Charleston. Yet the Cougars had no interest in that storyline.

No. 18 Charleston got off to a hot start and never let up in an 82-54 win Monday night in TD Arena. In winning their 18th consecutive game, the Cougars shot only 38% from the floor but outscored the Tribe 48-0 from the 3-point arc.

The Tribe (8-11, 3-3 CAA) trailed by double digits less than four minutes in. That was too deep a hole, especially with W&M shooting 0-for-12 from the 3-point arc.

“You certainly have to give Charleston a lot of credit for how they played tonight,” Tribe coach Dane Fischer said. “They really jumped on us from the start with a bunch of offensive rebounds on their first few possessions that turned into baskets for them. We never really could recover from that.

“We had some moments where we really settled in and competed and played the right way on both sides of the ball. But those were few and far between tonight. And a lot of that is to the credit to of Charleston.”

Ben Wight led the Tribe with 14 points, seven rebounds and two blocked shots. Anders Nelson finished with 12 points and had five assists. Noah Collier had his sixth double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Charlie Williams, who on Monday was announced as the CAA’s Rookie of the Week, had another solid performance with eight points on 4-of-5 shooting in 13 minutes.

W&M shot a respectable 43% from the floor but didn’t make a 3-point attempt for the first time since Dec. 1, 2015, when it went 0-for-15 against Old Dominion. Charleston (19-1, 7-0) shot 38% but was 16-of-45 from the 3-point arc.

“Where we struggled offensively was not letting the offense run enough to get good shots at times,” Fischer said. “When we did run really good offense and got good looks, we scored a lot of times. Where we got ourselves in trouble was trying to go force a play when it wasn’t there.”

At No. 18 in The Associated Press poll, Charleston is the Colonial’s highest-ranked team since Navy was No. 15 in January of 1987. The Mids’ starting center was an Admiral named David Robinson.

In a sign of things to come for William & Mary, Charleston’s first nine points were a byproduct of offensive rebounds. The Cougars scored at least two points on each of its first nine possessions and led 20-6 less than 4½ minutes into the game.

Charleston led 42-24 at halftime, not so much because of torrid shooting (34%) but by hitting the glass (12 offensive rebounds, 11 second-chance points) and taking care of the ball (one turnover). The Tribe shot 36.7% and was 0-of-9 from the 3-point arc.

The Tribe’s next game will be Thursday night at Delaware. The Blue Hens (10-9, 2-4) lost 59-58 at Northeastern Monday.

“We knew this was going to be a tough stretch for us here,” Fischer said. “We’ve got to regroup and get ourselves ready for a really talented Delaware team. We’ve got to take from this game one or two things we can really focus on and get ourselves ready to play another tough league opponent on the road.”

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