WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (TribeAthletics.com) – William & Mary is 5-0 to start Colonial Athletic Association play for the third time in school history.
Senior Nathan Knight continued his double-double ways, junior Luke Loewe showed his defensive moxie and the Tribe (13-5, 5-0 CAA) used a first-half-ending 16-4 run to take control on the way to a 67-56 victory over previous CAA-unbeaten Charleston (11-7, 5-1 CAA) on Saturday afternoon at Kaplan Arena.
Knight produced his fourth-straight double-double and nation-leading 14th on the year with 21 points and 13 rebounds. He moved into fifth place on both the Tribe’s career scoring and rebounding lists.
Junior Luke Loewe scored 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting, including 2-of-3 from 3-point range, but his biggest impact came on the defensive end where he limited the league’s preseason player of the year Grant Riller to just 3-of-12 shooting and 10 points. Riller entered the game ranked among the top 10 in the country averaging a CAA-best 22.6 points per game. In three of the Tribe’s last four wins, as the primary defender, Loewe has limited three of the CAA’s top-four scoring guards – Riller (22.6), Northeastern’s Jordan Roland (21.6) and Hofstra’s Desure Buie (19.1) – to just 9-of-40 shooting (22.5%).
The Tribe hit seven of its final 10 shots in the first half as part of a 16-4 run over the final five minutes to take a 37-27 advantage at the break. W&M hit four 3-pointers during that stretch, including a pair from sophomore Thornton Scott, and freshman Miguel Ayesa’s triple in the closing seconds gave W&M a 10-point halftime lead.
The home team carried the momentum over the second half, holding Charleston without a field goal for the opening five minutes. The Tribe used a 7-2 run capped by a Loewe 3-pointer and a Bryce Barnes lay-up to take a 44-29 lead with 16:10 left.
W&M received a big lift from its bench, which outscored Charleston, 25-19. Scott, who led the Tribe with five assists, and freshman Rainers Hermanovskis [tribeathletics.com] scored eight points apiece, while sophomore Quinn Blair added six points and six rebounds as a reserve.
How It Happened
– Sam Miller started the scoring by knocking down a 3-pointer on the Cougars opening possession. CofC misfired on its next five attempts.
– Senior Andy Van Vliet answered with a triple on the other end for the Tribe, and graduate student Bryce Barnes’s driving lay-up at the 17:32 mark gave the Green and Gold a 5-3 lead.
– Four-straight Charleston points put the visitor back on top. Grant Riller hit a pair of free throws and a Miller putback gave the Cougars a 10-8 lead seven minutes into the game.
– Charleston’s advantage was once again two, 23-21, following a Trevon Reddish 3-pointer with 5:07 left in the first half.
– The Tribe hit seven of its final 10 shots as part of a 16-4 run to give W&M a double-digit halftime lead. W&M hit four 3-pointers, including a pair from Thornton Scott, during the run. He also found Knight for a dunk at the 2:08 mark. Freshmen Rainers Hermanovskis and Miguel Ayesa knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers to end the half and give W&M a 37-27 cushion at the break.
– The Green and Gold started the second half on a 7-2. The Tribe held Charleston without a field goal for the first five minutes of the half. On the other end, Loewe hit a 3-pointer followed by a Barnes layup to extend the lead to 44-29 less than four minutes into the second frame.
– Charleston found its range, hitting six of seven shots as part of a 12-4 spurt. The Cougars scored six-straight points, including a Jaylen Richard jumper to cut the deficit to 48-41 and force a W&M timeout. Jaylen McManus and Richard both scored four during the run.
– The Tribe scored nine-straight points to take its largest lead of the game. Knight tallied seven of the nine, including an old-fashion 3-point play out of the timeout. His bucket with 6:43 remaining pushed the lead to 57-41.
– McManus (4) and Brenden Tucker (5) combined for nine-straight Charleston points to draw the visitors within 60-50 with 4:25 left on a pair of McManus free throws.
– W&M answered with Loewe lay-up and a Knight 3-pointer to re-establish a 65-51 lead at the 2:08 mark.
– After a Riller 3-point play, McManus, who led Charleston with 12 points, hit a pair of free throws to bring the Cougars within nine, 65-56, with less than a minute to play.
– Scott hit two free throws with 29 seconds left to put the game away and give W&M sole possession of first place in the CAA standings.
Inside the Numbers
– The Tribe shot 42.6% (23-of-54) from the floor and knocked down 9-of-20 (45%) beyond the 3-point arc.
– W&M limited Charleston to 34.5% (19-of-55) shooting, including 29% (9-of-31) in the first half. The field goal % was the lowest for the Cougars in a CAA game since 2017.
– The Tribe had a season-low seven turnovers and dished out 15 assists on its 23 made field goals.
– The Green and Gold held a 38-35 advantage on the glass and outscored the Cougars, 24-18, in the paint.
W&M improved to 5-0 in CAA play for just the third time in school history … Senior Nathan Knight recorded his fourth-straight double-double and nation-leading 14th on the year … Knight moved past Omar Prewitt ’17 for fifth on the Tribe’s career scoring list (1838) … He also surpassed Terry Tarpey ’16 for fifth on the career rebounding list (815) … The last time a CAA team held Charleston to a lower shooting % was UNCW in 2017 when it limited the Cougars to 28.8% … Freshman Rainers Hermanovskis scored a career-high eight points, going 3-of-3 from the field and 2-of-2 from 3-point range … The Tribe’s seven turnovers marked a season-low … Junior Luke Loewe tallied double-digits for the fourth-straight game, fifth time in the last six games and 11th time this season.
– The Tribe hits the road next week for games at Delaware (Jan. 16) and Drexel (Jan. 18).