William & Mary has concluded 4 games in 8 days, and has certainly turned some heads in the process. Although the team was picked to finish 8 (out of 10) in the CAA preseason polls, the Green and Gold have tied their best start in CAA history at 4-0. At the beginning of the year, Coach Shaver remarked that this was the best shooting team he has ever coached. Well, at this point in the season, the team’s incredible shooting is proving him right. Don’t believe us? Numbers don’t lie.
CAA Statistics (as of January 8, 2018) – W&M Rankings
- Scoring Offense: 1st (87.1 points per game)
- Field Goal Percentage: 1st (52.1%)
- Free Throw Percentage: 1st (80.4%)
- 3-Point FG Percentage: 1st (46.2%)
- Assists: 1st (18.7 per game)
It’s safe to say that W&M has the most prolific offense in the CAA, at least to this point. But while the Green and Gold is stout offensively, the team leaves much to be desired on defense. Here are some of the team’s defensive rankings in the CAA:
- Scoring Defense: 9th (78.9)
- Field Goal PCT Defense: 7th (46.9%)
Keep in mind that the above rankings are out of 10 teams. So while W&M’s offense has been keeping it in the majority of games so far this season, its defense is susceptible to blowing it at any moment. So in big CAA games that will inevitably come down to the wire, can W&M’s defense deliver? ESPN Bracketology expert Joe Lundardi seems to think that W&M can remove itself from the Sad 4 (original D-1 teams that have never qualified for the NCAA Tournament — can you name the other three? Don’t forget, Northwestern made it last year!). In a recent tweet, Lunardi has W&M ranked as the 53rd best team in the country, currently placing the Green and Gold IN the NCAA Tournament, winning the CAA. Wouldn’t that be nice? Roll Damn Tribe.
W&M Game Recaps
WIN: TRIBE 90, Hofstra 87
8-4 (1-0 CAA)
In William & Mary’s first CAA game, the Tribe took on the Hofstra Pride. Hofstra is a very similar team to W&M, sporting a prolific offense that runs through the best shooter in the CAA (Justin Wright-Foreman, averaging 25.4 ppg). In fact, Wright-Foreman scored a career high 36 points in the game against W&M.
In the first half, the Tribe found itself up by as many as 13 points before Hofstra cut the lead to 4 right before half. The second half was a back and forth exchange, as neither team gave much ground to the other. With 30 seconds left in the contest, it certainly looked like Hofstra would win. The Pride was up 85-82 and received the ball following a turnover by the Tribe’s Nathan Knight. After a timeout, Hofstra had to inbound the ball. W&M’s Justin Pierce jumped in front of the inbound and came up with the HUGE steal with 30 seconds to go; the ball was then dished to Connor Burchfield, who put up an ice-in-the-veins 3, tying the game 85-85 with 24 seconds to go.
None other than Justin Wright-Foreman would answer with a layup on the following drive, giving Hofstra an 87-85 lead with 13 seconds remaining. But after Oliver Tot‘s game winning half-court shot with under 2 seconds to go against ODU, W&M fans learned to never to count out this year’s Green and Gold. With 8 seconds to go, none other than Connor Burchfield would sink ANOTHER 3 with mere seconds to go, giving the Tribe an 88-87 lead.
Hofstra would get down the court and attempt a layup, but it was blocked by Nathan Knight to seal the victory. Wow. An exciting game for sure — one that ended in W&M remaining perfect at home.
WMSB Co-Players of the Game: Nathan Knight (31 points, 11 rebounds, 8 blocks), David Cohn (26 points, 7 assists)
WIN: TRIBE 84, JMU 76
9-4 (2-0 CAA)
Despite JMU sitting at 4-10 going into this contest, CAA road wins are not easy to come by. The first half proved that point, as the Dukes led by as many as 14 points before W&M went on a 12-3 run to end the half — finding itself down just 3 (41-38). In the second half, W&M again came out firing. The Green and Gold took the lead on a Nathan Knight dunk with 15 minutes to go, and would not relinquish the lead the rest of the game.
Key Stat: With the road victory, W&M matched as many road wins (3 in a mere 13 games) as it had all of last year.
WMSB Player of the Game: Matt Milon (19 points, career high 12 rebounds)
WIN: TRIBE 90, Delaware 65
10-4 (3-0 CAA)
While this game was initially close, William & Mary would open the floodgates mid-way through the 1st, going on an 18-5 run to end the first half — sitting pretty with a 21 point lead going into intermission. The storyline was much the same in the second half, as the Green and Gold increased its lead over the Blue Hens to as many as 32 points. The Tribe sustained a 20 point lead for the rest of the second half, handily defeating Delaware on the road. When it was all said and done, W&M shot 59.6% from the field, including 47.8% from 3.
Key Stat: W&M won its 4th road game of the season, surpassing its total from last year.
WMSB Player of the Game: Nathan Knight (10/11 shooting, 25 points, 11 rebounds)
WIN: TRIBE 85, Drexel 63
11-4 (4-0 CAA)
Coming off an impressive (and very surprising) victory over preseason #1 Charleston a couple days before, Drexel looked like a formidable foe for W&M on the road. The Dragons played well in the early goings, even holding a 10 point lead on W&M halfway through the first. But as we have the team to do in almost every CAA game, W&M finished the first half strong, going on a 14-4 run while taking an 11 point lead into half. In the second half, much like the Delaware game, W&M came out firing, padding its lead to as much as 25 points.
This game was never really close once W&M rallied from a 10 point deficit, as the Green and Gold improved to 4-0 in the CAA.
Key Stat: W&M is now 4-0 in CAA play, matching the best start in the CAA in team history. The team now sits alone atop the CAA rankings.
WMSB Player of the Game: David Cohn (Career-High 26 points, 6 assists)
Your William & Mary Tribe, picked to finish 8th (out of 10, we’ll again remind you) in the CAA in the Preseason polls, finds itself alone at the top of the CAA. These next few games will be telling, as W&M goes up against Towson and Northeastern at home — two strong teams in this year’s league. #PacktheKap