Sunday, December 10, 2023

Cold second half costs W&M in 62-57 loss at Hampton

(Tribe Athletics)

HAMPTON — Leading by seven points at halftime, William & Mary struggled on the offensive end the rest of the way in a 62-57 loss at Hampton on Thursday night.

The Tribe (9-15, 4-7 CAA) held the Pirates to 34% shooting, 4-of-18 from the 3-point arc. But after a solid first half, W&M was unable to get into a rhythm on the offensive end in the final 20 minutes.

“I was really pleased with the way we defended tonight in the half court,” Tribe coach Dane Fischer said. “I thought we did some really good things guarding the ball in particular.

“When we ran the offense and got really good looks, we knocked down some shots. But we had too many possessions where we didn’t allow the offense to run enough.”

W&M took its last lead at 49-48 with 6:56 remaining. But the Pirates closed with a 14-8 run as W&M missed six of its last eight shots from the field.

Anders Nelson led the Tribe with 13 points on 6-of-11 shooting — he is 21-of-27 in his last three games — and five assists. Gabe Dorsey added 10 points on 4-of-10 accuracy. Ben Wight was the Tribe’s top rebounder with 10. Jack Karasinski added nine points off the bench, including seven in the first half.

W&M had eight turnovers in the second half, many in live-ball situations. HU outscored the Tribe 15-0 off turnovers in the second half.

“The turnovers were huge in the second half,” Fischer said. “A bunch of them led to run-out opportunities for them.”

William & Mary shot 48% from the floor, 5-of-10 from the 3-point arc, in the first half. But after halftime, those numbers dropped to 35% and 0-of-7. It was a stark contrast to 22 days earlier, when the Tribe shot 58.7% in an 81-65 win over the Pirates at Kaplan.

“They guarded us the same in both halves,” Fischer said. “They really tried to defend our 3-point shooting and did a good job, although we had a couple of good looks we missed. It felt like we took some uncharacteristic quick shots.”

With a 10-0 run, which was sparked by back-to-back 3-pointers by Nelson and Dorsey, the Tribe took a 31-25 lead with 4:42 remaining in the first half. W&M went into halftime with a shot of momentum as Matteus Case hit a jumper with eight seconds left to create a 34-27 lead at the break.

The Tribe’s lead was 45-41 with 10 minutes remaining in the game, but the Pirates began their comeback with a 7-2 run. Jordan Nesbitt’s 3-pointer put HU ahead 48-47 with 7:08 to go. The Pirates took the lead for good on a 3-point play by Ray Bethea with 5:17 left.

The crusher came with W&M trailing 55-54 approaching the 1-minute mark. Hampton missed three shots on its possession but rebounded each. Kyrese Mullen went 2-for-2 from the free throw line to make it 57-54 with 1:13 left.

William & Mary will return to Kaplan to host UNCW Saturday in its annual Gold Rush game. The Tribe defeated the Seahawks 69-67 in Wilmington on Jan. 14.

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