After rough non-conference showing, Tribe out to hot CAA start

Tribe men's basketball hoops
Posted at 9:41 PM, Jan 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-05 21:41:03-05

WILLIAMSBURG, VA (WTKR)- Two weeks ago, William & Mary probably would not have been your pick to sit atop the CAA, but two games into the league schedule, the Tribe seems to have found its groove.

Dane Fischer and company lead the conference standings after two nail-biting victories to kick off their league slate. Julian Lewis's lay-up with 10 seconds left gave the Tribe a 63-62 victory in its conference opener on December 29, while Connor Kochera's free throw pushed William & Mary to a 71-70 win over Northeastern two days later.

"I don't remember being a part of two conference games that close with those kind of finishes," Fischer said. "It's a credit to our guys for being able to continue to try and make that next play."

Fischer's squad rattled off the back-to-back victories after a 1-12 non-conference slate that saw the Tribe fall to every Division I team it faced. Its lone triumph was an 87-50 rout of Mary Baldwin, but the young William & Mary roster stayed the course.

"I've unfortunately been a part of coaching some bad teams before. I've never felt like this is a bad team. I've just felt like we weren't playing well yet," Fischer noted. "I think they've just done a great job of continuing to learn and get better in the areas that we've needed to and at the same time, maintaining that confidence and seeing some of the progress we've been making."

That work paid off during the last two games, especially down the stretch, leading to some pretty happy locker room celebrations.

"It was probably more so with the Hofstra game with us finally getting that first one, but against Northeastern, same thing," Fischer smiled. "Good bit of excitement and I think the guys were starting to see the work we're putting in is starting to be realized here a little bit."

"Everyone was super excited, especially because of the start we had to the season," said senior guard Yuri Covington. "Getting each win just felt great and we went crazy- us and the coaches."

Now William & Mary waits to see when it will play next. Its next scheduled game is Tuesday at College of Charleston, after road contests at Elon and UNC-Wilmington were called off due to COVID-19 protocols in other programs.

No doubt some more bumps in the road will surface for the young Tribe roster, but if things continue to progress, Fischer could see his squad near the top of the league for the next couple of months.