Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018 | 7 p.m. | Kaplan Arena (8,600) | Williamsburg, Va.
||William & Mary “Tribe”|
|2017-18 Record: 9-19, 6-10 CAA||2017-18 Record: 16-11, 9-7 CAA|
|Last Game: l. vs. Charleston, 88-74, 02-17-18||Last Game: l. at Northeastern, 69-67, 02-17-18|
|Head Coach: C.B. McGrath (1st Season)||Head Coach: Tony Shaver (32nd Season)|
|Roster | Schedule-Results | Statistics | Website||Roster | Schedule-Results | Statistics | Website|
WILLIAMSBURG, Virginia – The scoreboard operator at William & Mary’s Kaplan Arena may need an extra cup of coffee on the way to work Thursday night. He’s about to get a workout.
The Colonial Athletic Association’s top two offensive teams get together at the 46-year-old venue when the Tribe (16-11, 9-7) and UNCW (9-19, 6-10) collide in the first of two road games to close out the regular season for the Seahawks.
Seahawk Digital Network (SDN) coverage of the UNCW-W&M contest begins at 6:45 p.m. with Mike Vaccaro, the “Voice of the Seahawks,” providing the call from Williamsburg. Visit UNCWsports.com/SDN for live audio coverage. In addition, a radio broadcast of the game may be heard on “The Ticket” 95.9 FM and WKXB (99.9 FM-HD3).
In their last outing, the Seahawks ran into a hot-shooting Charleston team and the Cougars parlayed a season-best 68 percent shooting night to an 84-74 verdict over the Seahawks last Saturday at Trask Coliseum. CofC forged ahead, 39-33, at halftime, but shot 70.8 percent after the break to sweep the regular season series.
William & Mary, meanwhile, is also trying to bounce back from a close loss in Boston. Vasa Pusica’s layup at the buzzer lifted Northeastern to a 69-67 victory over the Tribe. The game was tied five times over the final five minutes before Pusica sliced in for the game-winner. He finished with a team-high 19 points, six rebounds and six assists. William & Mary got a game-high 21 points from Matt Milon, 14 points from Nathan Knight and 13 points and seven rebounds from Justin Pierce.
Thursday’s game pits the CAA’s two most explosive offenses. William & Mary leads the circuit in scoring offense with 84.2 ppg, while UNCW ranks second at 79.7 ppg. UNCW and W&M have been involved in several high scoring games of late; in the last four matchups, the Seahawks have averaged 91.3 ppg and the Tribe has collected 87.8 ppg.
The Seahawks face the CAA’s most vaunted three-point attack again tonight. William & Mary leads all NCAA Division I schools in three-point field goal percentage with a 43.3 percent clip. Senior guard Connor Burchfield tops all players with 51.3 percent from deep. Five Tribe regulars are connecting on at least 40 percent from long distance.
“We’re going to have to defend the three, for sure,” said UNCW Head Coach C.B. McGrath. “They’re a great three-point shooting team and lead the nation in three-point field goal percentage. They have a bunch of guys who can make three’s. We have to contest their shots, get rebounds and not give them any second chance points.
“We know what it’s going to take defensively. We just have to get out there and do it. We played them pretty well defensively at home and did a nice job on the boards. It was a great game, but we just missed a few free throws at the end.”
The Seahawks and Tribe are meeting for the 72nd time. UNCW leads the all-time series by a 43-28 margin, but W&M has taken two of the last three pairings and six of the last 10 matchups.
In the first game between the two schools on Jan. 27 in Wilmington, Pierce pitched in 16 of his 23 points in the second half, including 10 straight during a pivotal stretch, to send William & Mary to an 84-81 victory. The Tribe, which shot 55.8 percent, sprinted out to a 40-31 advantage at halftime and countered several UNCW runs to snap a two-game losing streak to the Seahawks in Wilmington. Pierce and Burchfield paced four Tribe players in double figures with 23 points apiece. Senior point guard Jordan Talley poured in a career-high 25 points for the Seahawks.
Kaplan Arena has not been kind to the Seahawks. Senior guards Omar Prewitt and Daniel Dixon combined for 55 points and W&M snapped UNCW’s nine-game winning streak with a 96-78 verdict on Jan. 28, 2017, at Kaplan Arena. The Tribe handed the Seahawks their first CAA loss of the season by shooting 55.7 percent and limiting UNCW to 35.4 percent. Prewitt (28) and Dixon (27) led the way for the Tribe, which defeated the Seahawks for the fifth straight time in Williamsburg. Devontae Cacok had 21 points and 16 rebounds for UNCW.
The Seahawks are 1-6 in conference road stops this season, with the only win coming at Elon on Jan. 11, 2018. UNCW has lost four straight CAA roadies since that victory last month at Alumni Gym.
Following the matchup in Williamsburg, the Seahawks visit Philadelphia for an early Saturday clash against Drexel that concludes the regular season. The Seahawks routed the Dragons, 107-87, back on Jan. 2 at Trask Coliseum, and tip off in a 4 p.m. matinee at the cozy Daskalakis Center.
For more information on the UNCW men’s basketball team, visit UNCWsports.com and click on the men’s basketball button. Additional information is also available on UNCW’s social media channels: Facebook (UNCW Men’s Basketball), Twitter (@UNCWmenshoops), Instagram (UNCWBasketball).