Daily Press (Sunday)

Home win streak comes to an end

Dragons pull away late to deal host Tribe league loss

- By Marty O'Brien

WILLIAMSBU­RG — Kaplan Arena has been a charm for William & Mary’s men’s basketball team this season.

All six of the Tribe’s wins have come there, including one over Elon on Thursday in their Coastal Athletic Associatio­n opener.

Drexel ended that streak, and the Tribe’s nine-game home winning streak overall, with a 77-55 victory in their CAA game Saturday. The game was more competitiv­e than the final score indicates, as the Tribe trailed just 46-43 with little more than 12 minutes remaining before being outscored 31-12 down the stretch.

Sophomore guard Justin Moore led the Dragons (10-6, 3-0 CAA) with 22 points, making his first six shots to stake his team to a 15-point lead with 4:22 to play in the first half. The Tribe (6-9, 1-1), led by Trey Moss’ 22 points, rallied to cut the deficit to 33-27 at halftime, then pulled to within three points on his 3-pointer.

But Drexel, which entered No. 1 in the league in field-goal defense (39%), pulled away as it limited the Tribe to 37.5% (21 of 56) shooting. The Tribe, who ranked second in the CAA with 74.4% free-throw shooting, did not help themselves with dismal 5-of-14 shooting from the line.

Tribe coach Dane Fischer acknowledg­ed that a lack of depth might have hurt W&M in the late going. But a bigger problem, he indicated, was that his team might have tried a little too hard, overly excited about playing at home after generating feel-good buzz by defeating Elon.

“We love playing at home,” he said. “The arena looks great with the upgrades, and our fans have been awesome.

“There was a great turnout again today and they were loud, and that helped us when we were making our runs. Sometimes I think you go into a game like this and the guys were really excited to play, and they showed that a little bit.”

Moore’s first splurge came with consecutiv­e 3s that gave the Dragons a 22-13 lead. At that point the Tribe, perhaps pressing, were shooting just 5-of-19 from the field.

The Tribe started to find their stroke in a 12-3 run to end the half, and it carried over into the second half. The Tribe used an 11-3 run — which began with a 3 by Matteus Case (12 points) and ended with a Moss 3 — to pull to within three points with 12:29 remaining.

“I think that’s kind of the first step to becoming a really good team is when you face a little bit of adversity and respond to it and get yourself back close anyways,” Fischer said. “The next step is being able to continue to execute.”

But it was Drexel, which got double-figure scoring from Luke House (11 points) and Garfield Turner (10), that executed late and dominated the glass (outrebound­ing the Tribe 48-26) to pull away.

The Tribe will look to channel their enthusiasm into better execution when they play at rival Hampton on Thursday.

“I think we have a little excitement around us because we’re starting to get healthy,” Fischer said. “But I think at times our guys got a little off focusing on task, and we’ve got to make sure we do that.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States