W&M-Hofstra Halftime

William & Mary got off to an auspicious start, as Marcus Thornton and Omar Prewitt used a series of cuts and three-point bombs to build a 21-11 lead less than 10 minutes into the game.

At that point, the W&M offense got sloppy, leading to several runouts for Hofstra. Juan’ya Green (11 points) and Rokas Gustys led Hofstra on a 15-1 run that turned the 10-point deficit into a four-point advantage.

The last five minutes of the half was The Marcus Thornton Show. The CAA Player of the Year banged home a trio of treys to put William & Mary back on top.

Thornton and Prewitt combined for 27 points, and helped the Tribe build its 35-32 halftime lead.

For Hofstra to keep this one close, it needs to recommit to getting the ball inside. The Tribe had no answer for Moussa Kone in the early going. Kone played just six minutes due to foul trouble, but kept the Pride in the game when nothing else was working.

William & Mary shot 50% from the field, and 41.7% from three. Hofstra was just 3-of-13 from downtown in the first half, and has to avoid trying to match the Tribe shot for shot.

Northeastern 67, Delaware 64

Eight and a half hours after the first game got going, Northeastern and Delaware gave the crowd the competitive game it so desperately sought.

The Huskies prevailed in the 67-64 tug of war. Monté Ross said it had the atmosphere of a championship game — a sentiment that’s confirmed by this graph.

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We know that basketball is a game of runs, and what made this one fun was that individual players took their turns dominating for two and three minutes at a time.

It started with Northeastern swingman Quincy Ford, who scored nine of Northeastern’s first 14 points. Then teammate Zach Stahl got rolling, battling for position and converting several looks within five feet of the bucket. The two Huskies were tied for the team-high 11 points at halftime.

For the Blue Hens, the first half of the game was The Kory Holden Show. Perhaps he went extra hard to prove himself as CAA ROY Elijah Bryant’s equal. Holden knocked down a bevy of runners and 3-pointers en route to 16 first-half points.

Both teams shot 54.5% in the first half, and a late David Walker 3-pointer gave Northeastern a 35-31 lead at the intermission.

After Ford hit a 3-pointer on Northeastern’s first possession of the second half, Northeastern had it’s biggest lead of the game. Then, it was Cazmon Hayes’ turn to make a personal run as the Delaware sophomore, who committed two fouls and three turnovers in six first-half minutes, scored nine consecutive points in a 9-2 run that knotted the game at 40.

From there, it was more of the same. Northeastern ended a five-minute scoreless drought with seven points in 57 seconds. That gave the Huskies their largest lead (52-44), but Delaware’s Maurice Jeffers and Marvin King-Davis provided the counterpunch. Northeastern rallied to within one with 2:52 to play.

Delaware had a chance to take the lead, but a question five-second call on Holden gave the ball back to Northeastern. Holden kept Delaware within one possession, but Walker hit four free throws in the final 14 seconds.

Chivarsky Corbett’s potential game-tying 3-pointer was no good, and Northeastern got revenge against the team that knocked it out of last year’s CAA Tournament.

Northeastern shot 54.8% on the game, with Walker (17), Ford (16), and Stahl (13) scoring in double figures.

Holden finished with 20 points, which was the highest individual mark of Saturday’s CAA quarterfinals. Kyle Anderson (11) and Jeffers (10) also finished in double figures.

Northeastern will hope the third time’s the charm when it matches up with UNCW tomorrow at 5:00.

UNCW 79, CofC 53

In an utterly dominant second-half performance, UNCW shot 65.4% (17-of-26) from the field en route to a 79-53 slaughter.

UNCW’s seniors led the way, just as they have all season. Cedrick Williams posted a 19-13 double-double, tying teammate Freddie Jackson for the game-high 19 points. Charleston had no answer for UNCW’s precise cuts to the hoop.

Charleston shot 32.8% on the game. Joe Chealey led CofC with 12 points, 11 of which came in the first half. Freshman Cameron Johnson hit a trio of 3-pointers in the second half.

There’s not much to say about this one. UNCW made it look easy. The Seahawks come to play every time they take the floor. We can’t expect them to shoot 53.4% each game, but when their defense is up to its usual standard, they can beat a lot of teams when they’re hitting in the low-40s.

UNCW will face the winner of Northeastern-Delaware in Sunday’s 5:00 game.

UNCW-CofC Halftime

UNCW used a balanced attack to build a 36-25 halftime lead. The Seahawks shot 43.8% from the field, including 3-of-5 from downtown. Freddie Jackson, Addison Spruill, Cedrick Williams, and Dylan Sherwood accounted for 32 of Wilmington’s points.

UNCW’s on-ball pressure led to eight CofC turnovers. UNCW turned those turnovers into eight points and a 10-2 advantage on the break.

Charleston struggled with UNCW’s from baseline-to-baseline game from the get go. When the Cougars managed to get the ball over halfcourt, they actually created a decent number of second chances at the rim. They failed to convert most, and shot just 33.3% on the half.

Joe Chealey led all scorers with 11 points. No other player from Charleston had more than three in the first half.

Hofstra 74, JMU 57

In Hofstra’s loss at JMU last Saturday, Ameen Tanksley and Juan’ya Green combined to shoot 8-of-22 from the field. Coming into this game, it was apparent that the pair of Niagara transfers would need to play better. The redshirt juniors did just that, and their supporting cast stepped up to ensure that the stars wouldn’t have to do too much.

Hofstra played with an energy from the opening tip. It was consistent ball pressure and Tanksley attacking with vigor. It was Moussa Kone and Rokas Gustys planting themselves by the hoop, and gathering any loose carom that came their way. It was Green dishing the rock and Malik Nichols and Brian Bernardi frustrating JMU guards Ron Curry and Joey McLean into multiple turnovers.

Put it all together, and Hofstra’s 74-57 win over JMU was utter domination.

Joe Mihalich said that the battlecry all week was to be a better defensive team. After allowing JMU to shoot 62.8% from the floor a week ago, the Pride limited the Dukes to 37% shooting today. The Pride dominated the paint (46-28) and held a 23-9 advantage for points off turnovers.

Kone posted 18 points and hauled in 11 rebounds. Tanksley finished with 16 points. Juan’ya Green had 10 points and eight assists, and Rokas Gustys scored 11 points.

Curry tallied 18 points for JMU. Dimitrije Cabarkapa scored 12 points in 18 minutes, but was relegated to the bench for most of the second half with what hockey writers refer to as a lower body injury.

It was night to forget for a trio of JMU starters. After scoring a career-high 20 points last week versus Hofstra, Jackson Kent scored just seven on 3-of-10 from the field. Joey McLean committed four turnovers, and didn’t play much in the second half. Yohanny Dalembert was hampered by foul trouble all afternoon.

Matt Brady knew his team didn’t play as well as it could have, but gave Hofstra all the credit in the world. Brady also mentioned that JMU would explore postseason options such as the CBI and CIT.

Hofstra knew it had to play defense. I reference this stat almost daily, but it’s important to note that Hofstra is 17-1 when holding opponents below 70 points.

It’ll be tough to hold William & Mary below that mark, but if the Pride commits to getting the ball inside and defends like it did today, tomorrow’s semifinal game is going to be hella good.

JMU-Hofstra Halftime

Hofstra came out playing with rabidity. The Pride ravaged the glass to the tune of a 58.3% offensive rebounding mark, and had versatile Malik Nichols shadowing Ron Curry’s every move.

It amounted to a 22-4 first-half run that gave Hofstra a 13-point lead with 3:20 to play. Hofstra led by double figures on multiple occasions and eventually took a 39-33 lead into halftime.

I have a feeling Matt Brady was happy to have his team within six points at halftime.

Amen Tanksley led the Pride with nine first-half points. Juan’ya Green posted six points and six assists, and Rokas Gustys and Moussa Kone combined for 13 points and nine rebounds.

Dimitrije Cabarkapa (12 points) was JMU’s lone bright spot, hitting back-to-back 3-pointers to spark an early 10-0 run. Yohanny Dalembert picked up his first foul hedging on a screen less than two minutes into the game, and his second trying to defend a drive. That spelled trouble for JMU, which was already getting hammered on the offensive boards.

Nichols’ defense on Curry, who shot 3-of-8 from the field, was crucial.

W&M 72, Elon 59

It felt like Elon was poised for a run when back-to-back 3-pointers from Tanner Samson got the Phoenix within five just three minutes into the second half. But the sharpshooter picked up his fourth foul with 16:55 to play, and was temporarily relegated to the bench.

That was when William & Mary used a 15-2 run to open up an 18-point lead. Elon strung consecutive baskets together on multiple occasions, but never got closer than 11.

Marcus Thornton and Omar Prewitt combined for 33 points, and Terry Tarpey put up eight points, nine boards, five assists, and three steals. That’s standard stuff for the CAA Defensive Player of the Year, who had several key offensive rebounds late in the game to seal the deal for the Tribe.

It was a rough afternoon for Elon seniors Austin Hamilton and Kevin Blake, who were a combined 6-of-21 from the field before Hamilton (13 points) converted a pair of layups late in the game. Elijah Bryant led the Phoenix with 15 points, and Samson finished with 11 points. Samson’s fourth foul truly thwarted the momentum that Elon desperately needed before a Tribe-heavy crowd in Baltimore.

Elon had its four-game winning streak snapped in its final game of the season. Matt Matheny’s group finished the ’14-’15 campaign at 15-18 overall, and should be better next season.

William & Mary will watch the JMU-Hofstra game with keen interest, as the Tribe will battle the winner on Sunday at 2:30 EST.