16-9 (9-5 CAA)
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The Tribe yet again finished 1-1 this past week. The Tribe put up an admirable fight against the top ranked Charleston Cougars, even leading for a significant portion of the game. However, the Green and Gold’s efforts were not enough, as the Tribe would fail to to the Cougars down the stretch. Following the Charleston game, W&M faced off against Delaware in the Tribe’s annual Gold Rush game. Yes, this game was played in front of a large and raucous crowd — kudos to everyone who made it to the game, because it certainly helped: the Tribe dismantled the lowly Blue Hens, handing Delaware its 8th straight loss.
Your Tribe has just four more regular season games before the CAA Tournament begins in early March — can you believe it? Down the stretch, W&M will be playing 3 of the top 4 teams in the CAA; it’s time to step up and finish the season strong. We’ll learn a lot about this W&M team over the next two weeks.
CAA GAMES – WEEK 6
LOSS: Charleston 82, W&M 77
15-9 (8-5 CAA)
WMSB Analysis: While this was a showdown of the two top-ranked teams in the CAA, the contest actually turned into a battle of the top ranked offense vs. the top ranked defense. In the end, defense prevailed, and the College of Charleston emerged victirious. But lets not get ahead of ourselves. This was the Grant Riller show — plain and simple.
If you don’t know the name now, you should. Charleston’s Grant Riller was in contention with Blue Hens’ Ryan Daly for CAA Rookie of the Year last season (it was eventually awarded to Daly). Despite that, and against the Tribe this past week, Riller went off for 28 points in the first half on 10/14 shooting. He made the Tribe’s defense look downright silly all game, and ultimately ended with 37 points (a career high). It is truly amazing how many people have produced players with career highs against W&M this year; it’s safe to say that this is definitely not a statistics the team wants any part of.
The Tribe actually outshot Charleston percentage-wise in this one (51.8% to 47.3%), but Charleston’s defense created problems. The Tribe turned the ball over 15 times, more than twice the amount Charleston did (7). Add that to Riller’s performance, and the Tribe didn’t have a chance. W&M’s Nathan Knight turned in an admirable performance, finishing with 29 points and 7 rebounds, but the preseason #1 CAA squad proved its mettle in this one.
WMSB Players of the Game: Nathan Knight (29 points, 7 rebounds)
WIN: W&M 83, Delaware 66
16-9 (9-5 CAA)
WMSB Analysis: In front of a packed crowd on Gold Rush Day in the ‘burg, your W&M Tribe did not disappoint. Despite the game staying close toward the beginning (thanks to Delaware’s hot-shooting Ryan Allen), W&M opened up a double-digit lead with ~2 minutes to go in the first half, and didn’t relinquish that lead the rest of the game. The first half seemed to turn in a one on one battle, taking place between W&M’s Justin Pierce and Delaware’s Ryan Allen; the two scored 23 points apiece for their respective teams in the half alone. But as a team, W&M came out firing, shooting 66.7% from the field and 50% from 3 in the first half. For Delaware, it was Allen that did the vast majority of the scoring, just about all of which came in the first half.
In the second half, W&M established a 20-point lead; much like in the Charleston game, turnovers loomed large. But this time, the numbers finished in the Tribe’s favor. W&M finished +11 in turnovers (UD 17, W&M 9). Toward the end, with the game far out of reach for Delaware, W&M’s starters received a much deserved break, while others, such as Jamison Glover, Omar Mostafa, and Jihar Williams. got their time in the spotlight — which was nice to see.
Despite the score, let’s not forget Delaware was without their best player (Ryan Daly) in this game, due to injury. Ryan Allen and Ryan Daly (once back from injury) are going to make Delaware a formidable force in the years to come. Keep an eye out for them next year. But overall, it was a very solid, and much needed, victory for the Tribe.
WMSB Player of the Game: Justin Pierce (33 points)
W&M STATISTICS (AS OF FEBRUARY 12, 2018)
Red signifies that the statistic got worse since last week, and green signifies that the statistic got better since last week.
- Scoring Offense: 1st in the CAA
84.9 points per game
- Field Goal Percentage: 1st
- Free Throw Percentage: 1st
- 3-Point FG Percentage: 1st
- Assists: 1st
17.9 per game
- Scoring Defense: 9th
- Field Goal PCT Defense: 10th
After playing against the top-ranked defense in the CAA, it’s no surprise that W&M’s scoring offense and 3-point FG PCT went down this week. However, on a positive note, W&M improved in both defensive categories; as we have said all season long, if W&M can improve on the defensive side of the court, it can beat just about anyone in the league. The team’s offense will always be there, but it’s the defense that leaves us worried.
After beginning the year 3-3 in CAA play, Charleston has been on a tear, ripping off 8 straight wins while firmly establishing themselves as the team to beat in the CAA. Northeastern has continued its somewhat surprising play, and find itself the winners of 3 straight. W&M also benefitted from an upset, where UNCW defeated Hofstra — the Hofstra Pride had come incredibly close to tying the Tribe in the standings in recent weeks. At this point, with only 4 games to go, teams realistically vying for the CAA crown include: Charleston, Northeastern, and W&M.
@ Hofstra, THURSDAY (2/15), 7 PM
@ Northeastern, SATURDAY (2/17), 4 PM
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