WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (TribeAthletics.com) – William & Mary men's basketball battled back from as much as an 11-point second-half deficit against Hampton, but Yuri Covington's right-wing 3-pointer in the closing seconds was off the mark and the visiting Pirates hung on for a 54-53 win on Thursday night at Kaplan Arena.
Trailing 48-38 with 9:25 remaining, the Tribe turned the screws on the defensive end to mount a comeback. W&M held Hampton (4-6) to just two field goals on nine attempts and five turnovers over the remainder of the game.
The Tribe scored five in a row on a Tyler Rice 3-pointer and a Connor Kochera driving lay-up to close the gap to five with 7:10 left. Five-straight from senior Quinn Blair, including three at the free-throw line, drew the home team within 52-50 with 2:35 remaining.
The margin was just one, 54-53, following a pair of Ben Wight free throws at 1:07 mark. After a defensive stop, W&M (1-10) called timeout with just 20 seconds remaining. Hampton stopped a couple of Tribe drives to the hoop, and eventually, Rice kicked to Covington on the right wing. His 3-point attempt hit off the iron and out of bounds with just 1.5 seconds left.
Wight led the Tribe with 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting, while Covington also scored in double figures with 11. Kochera and Blair both finished with seven points and eight rebounds.
Hampton's Najee Garvin scored 14 of his game-high 20 points in the opening half as the Pirates led by as much as eight in the first 20 minutes. Garvin's lay-up at the 3:01 mark gave the visitors a 28-20 advantage. The Tribe drew within four at the intermission on a Covington 3-pointer with six seconds remaining.
W&M scored the first four points of the second half to draw even at 30 on a Wight hook shot just over two minutes into the frame. Hampton responded with a 14-3 run to open up its largest lead of the game at 44-33 with 11:18 left on a Russell Dean free throw.
Hampton finished the day at 39.6% (21-of-53) from the field and just 2-of-14 from 3-point range (14.3%). W&M shot 39.1% (18-of-46) from the floor and knocked down six 3-pointers. The Tribe though was just 11-of-21 (52.4%) at the free throw line, including 7-of-14 in the decisive second half, and turned the ball over 18 times, including 13 in the first 20 minutes. W&M outrebounded the Pirates, 39-30.
Along with Garvin's 20, Dajour Dickens and Dean added 11 and 10 points, respectively.
The Tribe wraps up a three-game homestand when its hosts Fairfield on Sunday, Dec. 12. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m. from Kaplan Arena