William & Mary’s starting five comes up clutch to edge past Hofstra in CAA opener

Posted at 12:26 AM, Dec 31, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-31 00:26:25-05

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (Tribe Athletics) - All five Tribe starters made a huge play in the final 30 seconds, and senior Connor Burchfield, via the three, and sophomore Nathan Knight, with the game-winning block, took center stage in the William & Mary men's basketball team's 90-87 CAA-opening win over Hofstra on Saturday afternoon.

Nathan Knight celebrates a win for William & Mary

W&M (8-4, 1-0 CAA) erased a pair of deficits in the game's final half minute.

The final time came on Burchfield's second-straight 3-pointer with 6.8 seconds remaining, and Knight swatted a Kenny Wormley attempt at the rim in three ticks left to preserve the victory.

The Green and Gold stared an opening league loss in the face with 29.5 seconds remaining as the Pride (7-6, 0-1 CAA) held an 85-82 lead with possession. Sophomore Justin Pierce came up with a steal to give W&M the ball, and out of a timeout, Burchfield delivered the first of his clutch triples to knot the contest at 85 with 24 seconds remaining.

The CAA's leading scorer Justin Wright-Foreman briefly put Hofstra back in front on a driving lay-up with 14 ticks left. Senior guard David Cohn sprinted up the left side of the court, finding Burchfield in the corner. With Hofstra guard Eli Pemberton draped on him, the Concord, N.C., native let fly and buried a huge 3-pointer to give W&M the lead for good at 88-87.

Wormley raced into the lane on the other end, but was denied at the rim by Knight's eighth rejection of the contest. Sophomore Matt Milon pulled down the rebound and calmly hit a pair of free throws after being fouled to push the margin to 90-87. Pierce knocked the ball away from Wright-Foreman on the Pride's final possession, and Cohn came up the steal to preserve the win.

The Tribe opened up as much as a 13-point first half advantage. W&M connected on eight-straight shots at one point as part of an 11-of-12 stretch. The Green and Gold capped the sequence with a 10-0 run as Cohn and Pierce combined for all 10 points. A pair of Paul Rowley free throws at the 3:32 mark extended the cushion to 39-26. Hofstra closed to within four, 45-41, at the half thanks to an 8-0 run highlighted by five straight from Wright-Foreman.

The Pride final pulled even on a trio of Wright-Foreman free throws with 11:49 in the second half. Hofstra eventually moved in front with five-straight points, including the final four from Wright-Foreman, who tallied a game-high 36 points. His jumper at the 8:10 mark gave the visitors a 67-65 cushion.

Individual Player Spotlight
Sophomore Nathan Knight just missed a triple-double tallying his third 30-point, 10-rebound double-double of the season with a career-high tying 31 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. He also blocked eight shots, the fourth most in W&M history. The rejection total was the eighth best in the NCAA this season and the most in the CAA.

Senior David Cohn tallied a career-high 26 points on 8-of-14 shooting, including 2-of-5 from 3-point range, to go along with a perfect 8-of-8 from the free throw line. He recorded seven assists, including one on each of the Tribe's final three baskets.

Justin Wright-Foreman topped the Pride with 36 points on 11-of-22 shooting, including 3-of-10 from 3-point range. He was a near perfect 11-of-12 at the free throw line to go with four assists.