Daily Press (Sunday)

Two long shots, big crowd not enough for Tribe upset

- By Marty O'Brien

WILLIAMSBU­RG — Buoyed by more than 5,000 fans, one of the largest gatherings at Kaplan Arena in the past decade, William & Mary produced its scrappiest performanc­e of the 2023-24 season. But even two half-court baskets were not enough for the Tribe, which fell 84-83 on Saturday to Colonial Athletic Associatio­n favorite Charleston.

Seemingly done when Reyne Smith made two free throws to give the Cougars (16-7, 7-3 CAA) a 79-71 lead with 31.5 seconds remaining, the Tribe pulled back into contention with consecutiv­e 3-pointers. After Caleb Dorsey made the first, Sean Houpt stole a pass, swished another 3 and the Tribe trailed only 79-77 with 16.3 seconds to play

The Cougars, 19 of 22 on the afternoon from the free-throw line, kept their poise and made 5 of 6 free throws to lead 84-80 with 4 seconds to play. But Gabe Dorsey’s 3-pointer did more for the Tribe (3-7, 8-15) than make the final score line closer. It epitomized their afternoon-long never-say-die attitude against a favored opponent.

“I thought the energy in the building was off the charts, and that’s a credit to our fans,” Tribe coach Dane Fischer said. “I’m certainly disappoint­ed that we couldn’t quite get over the hump and get the job done, but it was a great game and I’m proud of the way these guys competed.

“I thought we took a good step forward today.”

That was necessary after the 81-53 shelling at home from Delaware on Thursday.

Chase Lowe led four Tribe players in double figures with 21 points to go with a game-high 11 rebounds. Ben Burnham paced the Cougars with 20 points, including all of them during a nine-point run in the second half that gave them a lead that held through the the late-game dramatics.

The first half could hardly have started — or finished — more

spectacula­rly for the Tribe. They opened by making 9 of 11 field goals to bolt to a 21-12 lead before the game was eight minutes old. Though Lowe would emerge as the star of the day for W&M, seven players scored in the early run.

That was key because the Tribe was shorthande­d by injuries as it has been throughout the season. Only nine of 14 players dressed.

Highlights in the early run included a step-back 3 by Houpt (12 points). But Charleston, second in the CAA in made 3s, used the long ball to rally and take the lead before halftime. Smith (10 points), Burnham and Khalil London made consecutiv­e 3s from the corner during an 8-0 run to give the Cougars a 36-33 lead.

It appeared the teams would head into intermissi­on tied after Lowe stole a Cougars pass with time running down. But he threw up a prayer on the run, just before reaching half court, and it fell

through the hoop to give the Tribe a 44-41 lead.

“The first thought going through my head was, `I’ve finally hit a 3,’ ” Lowe said. “That was my first one of the year and it was definitely a good energy-booster going into halftime.”

A layup by Matteus Case (15 points) gave the Tribe a 56-55 lead with 12:07 left before Burnham went on his nine-point tear. He started with an emphatic drive to the basket for a layup, followed with a step-back 3, nailed a jumper with two defenders in his face and then buried two free throws to make it 65-56 with 10:05 to play.

The Tribe rallied quickly, cutting the deficit to 65-63 with a seven-point run that included five points from Gabe Dorsey (16 points). Among the reasons the Cougars kept their nose in front down the stretch were their 13 of 14 free throws.

 ?? MIKE CAUDILL/FREELANCE ?? William & Mary guard Chase Lowe attempts a shot in the lane against College of Charleston forward Ben Burnham during Saturday’s game at Kaplan Arena in Williamsbu­rg.
MIKE CAUDILL/FREELANCE William & Mary guard Chase Lowe attempts a shot in the lane against College of Charleston forward Ben Burnham during Saturday’s game at Kaplan Arena in Williamsbu­rg.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States