William and Mary never trailed in their easy win over Towson. Like Tony Shaver said in the press conference, “We out rebounded them. If u had seen my before the game, I would have lost a fortune betting that.” The Tribe shot well to start the game, but it was a change in their defensive schemes, that allowed them to get away from Towson. College of Charleston had a much tougher game, trailing Drexel by 9 with 11 to go. Then they amped up their defense. Drexel’s defensive level went down. The game swung.
Game 1 this season was in South Carolina. William and Mary led by 4 with 13 minutes to go. Charleston then went on a run to go ahead 9. The Tribe got it back to 4 several times before eventually losing 82-77. Game 2 was the last in the regular season. College of Charleston had the title locked up. Still, down 16, they again went on a big run to get within 4. Ultimately, Grant Riller, who had 37 in the first game and 29 in rematch, banked in a 3 from half court to get it to overtime. The Tribe trailed by 2 in overtime but scored 17 of games final 22 to win 114-104.
With all 5 starters returning from a strong team, Charleston was the overwhelming favorite to win the conference. The regular season changed nothing. William and Mary only had 1 starter returning. Middle of the pack, at best was what was expected. A 100-66 loss at High Pt to start the year, made that seem optimistic. However, they have the ace in the hole, Tony Shaver. This William and Mary team has defended better than prior editions. They outrebounded Towson. College of Charleston will not overwhelm you athletically. The ceiling for Charleston has been reached. That is not the case for Wm and Mary, who have gotten better and better as the year has gone on. They may be peaking at just the right time. For sure, they have the right man guiding them.
William and Mary 79, College of Charleston 74
I was surprised at the ease with which Northeastern beat Delaware. I have a hunch that playing almost an entire season shorthanded caught up with Delaware on Sunday. I was a little less surprised that UNCW will be the Huskies opponent. Hofstra is not a model of consistency and I doubt UNCW will ever be either. Tonight they came back, behind Jordan Talley’s 37 points to upset Hofstra, 93-88. Hofstra had better learn how to defend, if they hope to ever win the Conference tournament. The first 2 meetings between UNCW and Northeastern both went to overtime and were both won by Northeastern. UNCW got the last 9 of regulation and got 4 ahead in overtime before Northeastern took over, 74-70. Game 2 saw Wilmington get 13 ahead in 1st half, only to trail by 13 in 2nd half before once again rallying, only to lose 107-100. It would seem Northeastern has all the advantages. They have more experience and an excellent coach. UNCW has senior point guard Jordan Talley. No doubt UNCW has improved but they are shaky defensively. Ultimately, that is what wins tournament games. I am surprised the first 2 went to overtime. Doubt this one will.
Northeastern 86 UNCW 72