William & Mary men's basketball falls to UNCW, 92-70

William & Mary
Posted at 10:58 PM, Feb 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-05 22:58:46-05

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. ( - Offensively speaking, William & Mary looked sharp in the second half Saturday afternoon. The Tribe shot 59%, including 6-of-7 from the 3-point arc, and had only four turnovers.

The problem was, W&M couldn't get any stops on the defensive end as UNCW rolled to a 92-70 win in Kaplan Arena. The first-place Seahawks shot 62% from the field and went a mind-blowing 17-of-30 from the 3-point arc.

It was the second consecutive game the Tribe's defense gave up at least 57% shooting and 84 points. But in the mind of head coach Dane Fischer [], those games were no carbon copies.

"I told the guys there's a big difference between our game Thursday against Charleston and the game today," Fischer said. "Charleston did everything we said we wanted to take away. Today, Wilmington did everything we said we needed to make them do to beat us. And to their credit, they did it at a high level.

"Obviously 17 made threes on 30 shots is an incredible number. We wanted to keep the ball out of the paint, which we did for the most part. Keep them off the foul line, which we did for the most part. They got going from behind the arc and never really stopped."

Wilmington (16-6, 10-1 CAA) came in averaging 8.6 3-pointers a game and shooting 34% in conference play. But just over seven minutes into Saturday's game, the Seahawks were already 4-of-4.

UNCW went 7-of-15 from deep in the first half and 10-of-15 the rest of the way. Mike Okauru matched his career high of 30 points and went 8-of-10 from the arc. Jaylen Fornes, a grad transfer from Nicholls State, was 5-of-8.

The Tribe came in allowing 31% shooting from the 3-point arc, third-lowest in the Colonial.

After trailing 38-25 at the break, W&M was able to keep pace for much of the second half. Each time Wilmington looked to be pulling away, the Tribe knocked down some shots to stay within striking distance.

Ben Wight's [] two free throws with 6:31 remaining cut the Seahawks' lead to 72-60. But Wilmington made nine of its last 11 shots, including 5-of-6 from deep.

Connor Kochera [] led W&M with 16 points on 5-of-10 shooting, 4-of-4 from the arc. Brandon Carroll [] added 15 and was 6-of-9, 3-of-4 from deep. Tyler Rice [] finished with 13 points and four assists, and Wight had 11 points along with six rebounds.

"I thought offensively, that was one of the better halves we've had in a while," Fischer said. "Guys shared the ball well and ran the offense well. They stepped up and made shots with confidence. They got to the foul line.

"We did some really good stuff on that end of the floor in the second half. We just couldn't get any stops."

Next for the Tribe is at Towson (17-7, 8-3) Thursday. The Tigers defeated W&M 91-69 on Jan. 15 in Kaplan. They went 11-of-25 from the 3-point arc.

"We're able to practice Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, which is nice," Fischer said. "(We) have to continue to get better. We've tried to go in incremental steps of improvement, and we've certainly got to talk about our defensive effort and making sure we're getting out to shooters.

"We've done a great job defending the 3-point line up until this game. We've got to refocus on that. Obviously, we're going up against a terrific team in their building who absolutely took it to us when we played them here."