Well it was a week of ups and downs for the Tribe. What looked like a team that was really turning the corner held true until the second half of W&M’s most recent contest, vs. Towson. There is still much basketball to be played, and with the CAA’s parity at almost an all-time high, the league truly is up for grabs. But as has always been the case in this league, it’s all about the CAA Tournament.
Whichever team wins the CAA Tournament at the end of the year will procure the sought-after NCAA Tournament bid to go dancin’ in March — something this W&M team has yet to do, despite several 20-win seasons under Head Coach Tony Shaver. #WeBelieve
(WIN): W&M 94, Northeastern 69
13-9 (7-4 CAA)
Following the home game vs. Drexel (in which they won, dropping 108 points), the Tribe would spar with the Northeastern Huskies, another team right in the thick of things in this year’s CAA. In what was W&M’s last game of its 4-game home stand, the Tribe rocked the Huskies to the tune of 94-69. The Green and Gold never trailed in this one, and maintained consistent shooting and defense throughout the contest.
Hearkening back to the CAA Championship against the Huskies a few years back, this game was nice to watch. The Tribe shot over 60% from the floor, including 52.6% from three point land — eye-popping numbers. The Tribe also won the rebound battle by a wide margin: 32-20. As has been the case so far this season, Daniel Dixon led the way with 28 points on an insane 5 three-point conversions. Greg Malinowski also put in a solid showing, finishing with 14 points, while rising star and freshman Nathan Knight finished with 10 points and 5 rebounds. The announcers for each CAA game continually rave about Knight, who undoubtedly has a very high ceiling — especially under the tutelage of Tony Shaver.
But what turned out to be the biggest play of the night, senior captain Omar Prewitt suffered an ankle injury. He was seen toward the end of the game laying down next to the bench with ice on his ankle. Unfortunately for the Tribe, this wasn’t a minor injury, as Prewitt was forced to sit out the very next game, against the Towson Tigers.
(LOSS): Towson 82, W&M 80
13-10 (7-5 CAA)
Shooting up in the standings, the Green and Gold headed on the road for the first time in two whole weeks to take on another rising team, the Towson Tigers. Going into the contest, the Tribe sat at an abysmal 2-9 on the road, with the vast majority of the teams wins coming at home (11-0, yes, W&M remains undefeated at home…now knock on wood). This would be a big test for the Tribe, now on the upswing, to see if it could get the job done outside of Williamsburg.
Things started off well. Really well in fact, as W&M pulled away toward the end of the first half, finishing the first up 13 points, 46-33. The team was clicking, playing like it had back at home in Kaplan Arena. Even without Omar Prewitt, with just over 16 minutes left in the contest, the Green and Gold led by 17 points. All was well with the world. And that’s when the tables turned. The Towson Tigers would come alive, slowly chipping away at the Tribe defense, as W&M failed to mount any sort of offensive response. With 3:32 left in the contest, the Tigers completed their comeback, tying the game at 75 apiece.
From there, the teams would exchange blows, with the game hanging in the balance. It seemed like whoever would hold the ball last might just win it. Despite this, the crowd was electric, with the momentum clearly on the side of the resurgent Tigers. With 0:24 seconds left in the contest, W&M’s Paul Rowley looked to inbound the ball. First glancing at a streaking Daniel Dixon, Rowley played conservatively, not wanting to force the ball to Dixon with a Towson Tiger close behind. Instead, Rowley found an open Greg Malinowski streaking toward the Towson basket. Just as the ball left Paul’s hands, Malinowski was inadvertently tripped by a Towson player…but there was no call. A trip is a trip — whether the player meant it or not. Plain and simple.
The worst refereeing gaffe of the season ended up costing the Tribe. Towson would get the ball back, and not only hit a shot — but a three point shot, nonetheless. W&M was unable to respond with 7 seconds left in the game, dropping the heart-breaking contest to Towson on the road, and extending its miserable away record to 2-10. It’s hard not to blame the refs in this one. They quite literally handed Towson the game winning shot on a silver platter. Even still, Towson should have been nowhere near that position at that point in the game, and if the Tribe had finished its job, the Tigers wouldn’t have been able to put up the game-winning shot. A tough pill to swallow. In the losing effort, several players shined: Daniel Dixon (23 pts), Nathan Knight (15 pts, 5 blocks), Greg Malinowski (12 pts), and Justin Pierce (10 pts).