HIGH POINT, N.C. (TribeAthletics.com) – William & Mary senior Quinn Blair returned from injury and scored a career-high 22 points, but Howard closed the game on a 12-2 run to knock off the Tribe, 82-76, in a back and forth consolation game of the Legends Classic on Sunday evening.
Blair, who suffered an injury in the closing minutes of the Tribe's home game with American on Nov. 12, provided a huge spark for the Green and Gold, scoring 12 points in the opening half and 10 in the second, tallying his career mark in just 20 minutes of game action. He was 7-of-8 from the floor, including 2-of-3 from 3, and a perfect 6-of-6 at the charity stripe.
In a game that featured 12 ties and 17 lead changes, the Tribe (0-5) led 74-70 with 5:49 remaining after scoring six straight points. Blair provided an old-fashion 3-point play, before dishing to graduate student Brandon Carroll for a corner 3-pointer forcing a Bison timeout. To set up his 3-pointer, Carroll came up with a massive block on the defensive end, one of his three on the afternoon, to start the break for the Tribe.
Howard (4-2) responded with eight-straight points to gain control. A Tai Bibbs' lay-up high off the glass with 4:14 left tied the contest at 74, and a Randy Brumant lay-up with 2:43 left put the Bison on top for good.
Following a pair of HU free throws, Blair drove to the hoop for a bucket, cutting the margin to 78-76 with 1:26 remaining. W&M had a chance to tie as sophomore Yuri Covingtonsliced to the basket with just over 30 seconds remaining, but his lay-up hung on the rim and wouldn't fall. The Bison hit four free throws to close out the contest.
Howard finished the day shooting 47% (31-of-66) from the floor, but the Tribe did limit one of the nation's top 3-point shooting teams to just 28.6% (6-of-26) from beyond the arc. On the other side, the Tribe connected at a 44.3% clip (27-of-61) from the floor and was 15-of-18 (83.3%) from the free throw line.
Three other Tribe players joined Blair in double figures. Sophomore Connor Kocherafinished with 14 points, while freshman Langdon Hattonadded a career-high 11. Sophomore Ben Wight just missed a double-double with 10 points and a career-high eight rebounds. Steve Settle led five Howard players in double figures with 19 points, while Elijah Hawkins had a 12-point, 11-assist double-double.
The Tribe hit four of its first six shots from the floor in opening up an early lead. Back-to-back 3-pointers from Tyler Riceand Kochera gave W&M a 10-4 lead just over two minutes into the contest.
Howard took its first lead of the contest on the strength of a 10-2 run capped by a Kyle Foster 3-pointer. The Bison's first triple of the contest at the 8:29 mark gave HU a 24-21 lead
Blair scored 10-straight Tribe points at one point in the first half. His free throws, as part of that stretch, at the 4:20 mark put the Tribe back on top 35-31.
Howard's Sam Green knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers to briefly put the Bison back in front, but the Tribe scored seven of the half's final nine points. The Green and Gold went to the locker room with a 45-44 advantage thanks to a Carroll right-wing 3-pointer off a Covington drive and kick with 1:10 remaining. Covington tied his career-high with five assists and added a career-high eight rebounds as well.
Howard scored the first six points of the second half to open up a 50-45. The Tribe responded with an 11-3 run capped by a Blair corner 3-pointer to take a 58-55 advantage with 12:04 left.
The Tribe returns to action when it travels to Radford on Wednesday, Nov. 24. Tip-off is scheduled for 5 p.m., and the game will be broadcast on ESPN+. Tribe fans can catch the men's basketball action over the Tribe Sports Network with Jay Colley on the call. Locally in Williamsburg, fans can listen in on The Tide 92.3 FM.