13-6 (6-2 CAA)
After a 5-0 start to CAA play this season, W&M dropped two games in a row, and finished just 1-2 in its most recent three game home stand. Following a potentially debilitating loss to Northeastern this past Thursday, W&M was able to rebound quickly with an important road victory over Elon on Saturday. It was the Green and Gold’s fourth straight CAA road victory — quite a feat for a team that won just 3 road games all last season (yes, you read that correctly). The Tribe also received “help” from Towson, who graciously lost this week. With, the CAA is bottled up toward the top (a slightly insane 7 teams tied for the first, second, and third spots in the league), parity is at an all time high this year. And admidst it all, your W&M Tribe is in the hunt.
CAA Games – Week 3
LOSS: Northeastern 90, W&M 70
12-6 (5-2 CAA)
WMSB Analysis: The Tribe dropped its second straight game following a 5-0 start to CAA play (with the first loss coming to Towson). And it was ugly. After some early-game back and forth, Northeastern would break open an 11-point lead with 10:46 to go in the first half, and would go on to lead by double digits the rest of the game. Wow. Talk about a blowout. Much like the Towson game before it, Northeastern challenged the Tribe offense with stout defense beyond the three point line. To say the Tribe offense was thrown off would be an understatement. The Green and Gold shot 46.3% from the floor and just 29.4% from 3. At one point in the second half, Coach Shaver had seen enough: he pulled all 5 starters and benched them. I don’t know if we have ever seen that from Coach Shaver, but it was a bold statement. In short, this game wasn’t pretty, but we’re looking forward to playing Northeastern in their house soon.
Key stat of the game: Northeastern shot 71.4% from the field, including 63.2% from 3. The 71.4 percent effort by the Huskies ties the BEST single-game shooting percentage in the NCAA the season. Ouch.
WIN: W&M 80, Elon 73
13-6 (6-2 CAA)
WMSB Analysis: If this game weren’t the definition of a “nail biter,” then we don’t know what is. Early in the game, Connor Burchfield came out firing, dribble driving to the basket, and even dropping in a 3-point shot or two. But despite a strong effort by Burchfield, Nathan Knight got into foul trouble early. It’s been a trend we’ve unfortunately gotten used to at this point, but one that must end if W&M is to stay in games this season. Standing at 6’10”, Knight’s presence under the rim is paramount for a Tribe team that struggles on defense — not to mention he also happens to be the Tribe’s leading scorer (2nd in the CAA, averaging 19.4 points per game). At times, we’ve seen Knight take careless fouls this season, and we’re sure Coach Shaver is aware. Knight is too good of a player to see sitting on the bench during crucial times during games, and that’s exactly what we saw early in the first half of this game. With Knight largely absent at the half, Elon found itself down by a mere two points.
In the second half, W&M held the lead until the last ten minutes of the game, where Elon went on a big run, consistently dropping in shots and making short work of the Tribe’s porous defense. At one point, with just over 6 minutes left in the game, Elon led 69-61. But that was when the Tribe offense came alive, led by clutch three point shots from who other than Connor Burchfield and Matt Milon, as well as Justin Pierce; even Nathan Knight, playing with 4 fouls, made some very clutch shots to not only get the Tribe back in the game, but also regain the lead. With just two minutes left, W&M took a lead that it would not relinquish, winning by a 7-point margin. Again, it was the definition of a nail biter, one in which your boys in the Green and Gold came out on top.
Key Stat of the Game: W&M shot 51.6% from the arc in this contest, well over it’s league-leading 44.5% average for the year.
W&M CAA Statistics (as of January 21, 2018)
Red parentheses signify that the statistic got worse since last week, and green parentheses signify that the statistic got better since last week.
- Scoring Offense: 1st in the CAA
85.2 points per game
- Field Goal Percentage: 1st
- Free Throw Percentage: 1st
- 3-Point FG Percentage: 1st
- Assists: 1st
17.6 per game
- Scoring Defense: 9th
- Field Goal PCT Defense: 10th
William & Mary remains number 1 in all major offensive statistical categories, but its numbers went down a bit across the board this week due to a very bad game against Northeastern. In terms of defending the ball, W&M is now the worst defense in terms of FG PCT in the CAA, and remains 9th in scoring defense. We call all of W&M’s current statistical trends “returning to the norm” — following the Tribe’s red hot 5-0 start in CAA play, it’s not too surprising to see the team coming back to Earth. Keep in mind that the Tribe still leads just about every statistical category on offense, despite recent downward trends across the board.
Three teams went 2-0 on the week: Charleston, JMU, and Northeastern. Towson and Hofstra each lost one game, and Delaware and Elon los two. As you know, W&M split the week, good enough to hold its lead atop the CAA, now tied with Northeastern, which has won 3 in a row. As is typical in the CAA, it will be a tight race that comes down to the wire.
Next up for the
@ Towson, Thursday (1/25), 7 PM