Wow — what a whirlwind of a week. We still can’t say we’re too surprised with the way it turned out. W&M yet again proved that it currently cannot play up to an acceptable level on the road, presently sporting an abysmal 2-11 away record. HOWEVER, all the while, W&M maintains an impeccable 12-0 record at home in Kaplan Arena. We. Don’t. Get. It. There has to be no other team in all of D1 basketball with a starker contrast in its home and away records. Anyone out there want to do the research? Tweet us @wmsportsblog 🙂
Yes, it is of course harder to win on the road in general, but the Green and Gold really needs to get its act together if it wants to secure a high seed going into this year’s CAA Tournament — and at this point in the season, that’s all that matters. However, we did love what we saw in the Gold Rush game vs. Charleston, following the letdown vs. Drexel. With just four games left in the regular season (can you believe it?!), the Tribe has ample opportunity to shoot up in the standings before heading to Charleston for the conference tourney.
(LOSS): Drexel 79, W&M 61
13-11 (7-6 CAA)
Quite literally, absolutely nothing was working for the Tribe in this one. Going into the contest, the Dragons boasted a lowly 8-17 (2-10 CAA) record. Quite literally, the bottom dwellers of the CAA. Lucky for them, the Tribe was on the road. And as has been the case all season, something changes with the Tribe on the road this year. And it isn’t good.
W&M was cold from three-point land throughout, connecting on just 20% (on 4-20 shooting) of all combined three-point attempts — atypical for a good-shooting team. The Tribe would also commit 13 turnovers to Drexel’s 7. Oh, and did we mention that Drexel came out firing? On their home court, the Dragons opened up a 30-8 lead to start the contest. It looked ugly from the start, as the Tribe never led.
At the half, W&M impressively cut the lead to 10, only down 45-35. However, the Dragons would answer each and every Tribe shot with a run of their own, never allowing William & Mary to get within any more than 8 points. The Tribe would actually falter down the stretch, scoring less points in the second half (a mere 26 points) than it did in the first (35 points). When it was all said and done, the Dragons came out on top by way of an 18-point margin. Not good.
It would be beyond the realm of modern day science to begin to hypothesize why a team as good as W&M plays the way it does on the road. Led by two senior captains who know how to get the job done, the Tribe just hasn’t been able to put it together. As we all know, basketball is a very mental game; once something gets in your head, it’s hard to break out of it. We’re hoping that W&M can snap out of this year’s road woes it in the last four games, because as good as we are at home, the CAA Tournament will be in Charleston, not Williamsburg. Oh, and speaking of Charleston…
(WIN): W&M 89, Charleston 79
14-11 (8-6 CAA)
Following the gigantic letdown @ Drexel, the Tribe returned home for the famed Gold Rush Game. W&M fans congregated at Kaplan Arena from all over, sporting their hot-off-the-press gold t-shirts, as pompoms waved in the air. The student section flowed, and all was well with the world. If you haven’t attended a Gold Rush game, we highly recommend it. It’s like Homecoming, but for basketball. But I digress.
Unlike in the Drexel game where W&M never led, in the contest vs. Charleston, your Green and Gold never trailed. Coming into the game, Charleston sported a 19-7 (10-3 CAA) record, tied with UNCW as the #1 team in the CAA. The Tribe knew this would be no small task, but Charleston also knew how dangerous W&M is at home, especially in front of the biggest home crowd of the season (5,100 attendees).
The Tribe came out firing, jumping out to an early 18-6 lead. Throughout the game, senior Omar Prewitt played like a man possessed. Driving to the basket, shooting the outside three, getting involved with assists — the man truly did it all, like a captain should. Although noticeably smaller than Charleston, the Tribe would actually win the rebound battle, finishing with 33 rebounds to Charleston’s 27. W&M was also red-hot from three-point range, finishing with a 40.7% three-point percentage on 11-27 shooting.
The early star of the game was junior Greg Malinowski, who did all of his damage in the first half. In the first frame alone, Malinowski dropped 16 points on the Cougars, which included 4 three-point makes. Prewitt would also add three 3-point shots, as Daniel Dixon, David Cohn and Connor Burchfield would also join the beyond-the-arc party.
In addition to strong performances by Malinowski (16 points) and Prewitt (30 points. Yes, 30.), freshman Nathan Knight continued to shine. The freshman, currently leading the CAA in blocked shots, finished with 15 points, 6 rebounds, and 1 block. He did his damage on 5-7 shooting and a strong 5-5 from the charity stripe. Suffice to say, we’re excited to see what this player will do for us not only this year, but also in the following three years.