W&M Basketball Analysis: First 6 Games

6'10" Freshman Nathan Knight (Syracuse, NY) has already been a key contributor for the Tribe this season. [photo: tribeathletics.com]
6’10” Freshman Nathan Knight (Syracuse, NY) has already been a key contributor for the Tribe this season. [photo: tribeathletics.com]
Can you believe we’re already SIX games in to the William & Mary basketball season? The Green and Gold has begun its tough out-of-conference play against a slew of teams that fall all across the spectrum: they have faced a D-3 opponent, two nationally-ranked ACC powers (better known as national powers), and a few tough mid-major teams. Tony Shaver’s squad has already had its ups and downs, but show a lot promise with a great mix of veteran players and rising talent. Moving forward, the Tribe still has some work to do before the team’s first CAA game on New Years Eve vs. Northeastern. #WeBelieve

Currently, your William & Mary Tribe sits at a respectable 3-3 on the season, with two losses to the two aforementioned top-15 ranked ACC teams, Louisville and Duke. The team also suffered a loss against a very strong 6-2 Central Michigan team. So let’s analyze just how your boys fared through the first six games! Roll Tribe.

vs. Bridgewater (WIN, 1-0): William & Mary 96, Bridgewater 44

W&M opened up the season at home against a D-3 team, the Bridgewater Eagles. The Tribe certainly flexed its depth early and often in this one, as Tony Shaver allowed 13 players to see time on the court. The team shot lights-out from the floor (53.6%) and were absolutely deadly from 3-point land (41.7%). The Tribe never let up, accumulating a huge 55-22 halftime lead, before coming out with the big 96-44 victory.

The Freshman Duo of Nathan Knight and Justin Pierce were dominant. The two went a combined 11/18 for 25 points and 11 rebounds. Pierce scored 17 points, which actually led the team. When was the last time the Tribe had a freshman lead in scoring in his first-ever collegiate game?

Key Stat: W&M recorded a school-record 22 steals in this game, and also had its largest margin of victory in 17 years (52 points).


@ #12 Louisville (LOSS, 1-1): Louisville 91, William & Mary 58

Louisville’s defense proved too powerful for William and Mary in this one. The Tribe shot just 38.7% from the floor in the first half, and ended up shooting 31.1% in the game, including just 20.7% from 3. As Tribe fans know, these are not typical numbers from the typically high-scoring Tribe offense. But it was Louisville. Do we need to say anymore? Despite the very low shooting percentage, William and Mary actually cut the Cardinals’ lead to 3 points after a dunk by Freshman Nathan Knight with 2:13 to go in the first half. However, Louisville would go on a 10-0 run to end the half, setting the tone for the rest of the game, giving them a 44-31 lead into half. It was all Louisville from that point on.

In the second half, the Tribe shot even worse, finishing just 23.3% from the field. After notching 11 points in the first half, senior forward Omar Prewitt was effectively shut down in the second half, scoring just 3 points. Louisville went on a 6-0 run to begin the second half, built a 19 point lead, and never looked back. While we didn’t expect the Tribe to win this game, we did think (hope?) it would be a closer matchup. On the bright side, this contest really doesn’t mean much for the Tribe’s season. W&M had nothing to lose.

Key Stat: The size and athleticism of Louisville’s team made the difference in this game, as they outscored the Tribe 46-22 in the paint.

vs. Presbyterian (WIN, 2-1)
: William & Mary 89, Presbyterian 59

Jack Whitman and Paul Rowley scored career highs of 16 and 12 in this game, as the Tribe cruised to a 80-59 victory over visiting Presbyterian. The Green and Gold shot lights-out, making 52.5% of its shots. The team also made 15 3-pointers and shot 44.1% from beyond the arc. Senior guard Daniel Dixon led the Tribe with 20 points on 7/15 shooting.

The Tribe started this game on a 9-0 run, and used runs of 13-0 and 13-4 to push the lead to 41-29 at half. A good sight to see in this game was the play of Greg Malinowski. Still recovering from a concussion, Greg appeared to get back into form, going 4/5 on the game with 10 points in just 14 minutes of play. This game was never really close, and the Tribe rolled, as they should.

Key Stat: William & Mary assisted on 27 of its 32 FG’s in this game, led by David Cohn‘s 9 assists (and zero turnovers).

@ #6 Duke (LOSS, 2-2)
: Duke 88, William & Mary 67

William & Mary built a 13-9 lead early in this one, but Duke would respond, going on a 12-0 run, taking a 21-13 lead. After that point, the Tribe and Blue Devils exchanged baskets back and forth, with William and Mary actually cutting the lead to 5 points with just 5 minutes to go in the first half. However, much like the Louisville game, the Tribe fell apart toward the end of the first half. Over the first half’s final 5 minutes, Duke went on an 18-7 run and took an insurmountable 16 point lead into half. That lead proved too much for the Tribe, who ultimately fell 88-67.

Key Stat: Even with Duke’s obvious size advantage over the Tribe, William & Mary actually outscored the Blue Devils in the paint, with 32 points to Duke’s 30.

vs. Liberty (W, 3-2)
: William & Mary 79, Liberty 70

Liberty started this game instituting a very well-executed “Pack Line” defense (recently made famous by UVA) that held the Tribe to just 4 points in the first 6 minutes of the game, and just 12 points in the first 12 minutes of the contest. However, the Tribe would rally, ending the final 8 minutes of the first half half on a 22-11 run to take a 5 point lead (34-29).

In the second half, W&M consistently led by 7 to 10 points, and it looked like the Tribe had the game in the bag. But before it was over, Liberty had other thoughts, going on an 8-1 run to tie the game up with 3:02 left, forcing coach Tony Shaver to call a timeout. After the timeout, William & Mary would outscore Liberty 13-4 over the final 3 minutes to win the game 79-70. The Tribe was paced by captain Omar Prewitt’s 23 points (a season high) and Jack Whitman‘s 16 points (tying his career high).

Key Stat: With the win against Liberty, W&M extended its non-conference home winning streak to 16 games.

@ Central Michigan (L, 3-3)
:  CMU 91, William & Mary 81

In a battle of two high scoring teams, it was fun to watch this one (but not at the end for Tribe fans). This game was truly a tale of two halves for the Tribe. Both teams were shooting lights out in the first half, with the Tribe were shooting 53.1% from the field, and 57.1% from 3. Omar Prewitt was on fire, scoring 15 points in the first half alone. William and Mary would take a 45-42 lead into half.

The tides would turn in the second half. CMU point guard and the nation’s leading scorer (averaging over 29 points per game) Marcus Keene (who stands at just 5’9″, but is an athletic freak) was held in check for the most part in the first half, scoring “just” 13 points. However, he would explode for 23 points in the second half, finishing the game with 36 points. In the second half, William and Mary faltered, shooting 33.3% from the field, and just 14.3% from 3. Alternatively, CMU came out of the half firing on all cylinders, going on an 18-4 run and establishing an 11 point lead over the Tribe. The Chippewas would push that lead to as high as 19, and led by double digits the rest of the contest. William & Mary Head Coach Tony Shaver appeared very upset after the game, which will hopefully light a fire under a team that completely collapsed in the second half.

Key Stat: Despite dominating CMU in terms of scoring off the bench(34-10) and points in the paint (38-22), William & Mary still lost by double digits.

Next Up for the Tribe

Below is William and Mary’s remaining out of conference play schedule. The Green and Gold will next face Hampton on Saturday, before a 2 week break for finals exams. Miss those? Me neither. Roll Damn Tribe.

 hampton-logo @ Hampton, Saturday 12/3

milligan vs. Milligan, 12/16

sav_state vs. Savannah State, 12/19

uri @ #21 Rhode Island, 12/22

odu-logo @ ODU, 12/29



2 thoughts on “W&M Basketball Analysis: First 6 Games

  1. My wife and I attended the CMU game in Mt. Pleasant. There were several Tribe fans at the game, and it was fun to be there and cheer on the Tribe, even though the loss was disappointing. The team is off to a good start and I think they will have a strong season. Go Tribe!

    Doug Brown, ’71, JD ’74
    Troy, Michigan
    Fort Myers, Florida

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