William & Mary falls to UNCW 105-94 in CAA Semifinals

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Daniel Dixon and Nathan Knight console each other after William & Mary's CAA Semifinals loss.

Daniel Dixon and Nathan Knight console each other after William & Mary’s CAA Semifinals loss.

CHARLESTON, S.C. – The William & Mary men’s basketball team saw its run in the 2017 Colonial Athletic Association Championship come to a close in a shootout, 105-94, to regular season champion UNCW on Sunday afternoon. The teams put on an offensive exhibition with each shooting over 55 percent from the field and hitting 11 3-pointers. UNCW (28-5) used a late 8-0 run in the first half to open up a 10-point halftime advantage, and despite the Tribe (17-14) shooting 65.6 percent in the final 20 minutes, the Seahawks held off any rally by connecting on 70.8 percent on the other end.

Senior Omar Prewitt closed out his illustrious Tribe career with 24 points on 10-of-17 shooting. He moved into fifth place on the Green and Gold’s all-time scoring list with 1831 career points, surpassing Keith Cieplicki (1982-85). Junior David Cohn scored a season-high 18 points on 6-of-8 shooting, including 4-of-6 from 3-point range, and added a team-high five assists. Freshman Nathan Knight added 15 points on a perfect 6-of-6 from the field.

The contest started like heavyweight fight with both teams trading shots. Junior Jack Whitman, who led the Tribe with eight rebounds, got W&M on the board with an old-fashion 3-point play just two minutes into the contest. After a driving dunk from Prewitt tied the game at eight, UNCW’s Chris Flemmings threw down an alley-oop lob on the break to put the Seahawks back on top.

Sophomore Paul Rowley came off the bench firing as he hit a trio of 3-pointers in the first half, each one giving W&M the lead. His third triple at the 12:19 mark gave W&M a 20-19 advantage.

The Tribe led 24-22 after an Oliver Tot free throw at the 10:17 mark, before UNCW opened up a lead it would not relinquish with an 11-2 run. C.J. Bryce scored four points for the Seahawks during the run, before a Denzel Ingram 3-pointer at the 6:02 mark extend the lead to 33-26 and forced a W&M timeout.

Cohn took over for the Tribe, scoring 12-straight W&M points. He twice hit fadeaway jumpers in the lane, including one to beat the shot clock. On the break, Cohn knocked down a 3-pointer from the left wing to slice the UNCW lead to 34-33 with 4:28 to play.

The Seahawks responded with an 8-0 run to push the lead back to nine. Devontae Cacok scored four during the stretch, including an alley-oop dunk, before an Ambrose Mosley triple extended the UNCW cushion to 42-33 at the 2:31 mark. The Seahawks shot 50 percent (16-of-32) from the field, including five 3-pointers, in the opening 20 minutes and led 47-37 at the break.

Both teams came out of the locker room on fire. The Tribe hit four straight 3-pointers in the opening four and a half minutes. The final two triples of that sequence from Daniel Dixon and Prewitt drew W&M with six points. Prewitt’s 3-pointer from the right side at the 15:36 mark cut the gap to 57-51. UNCW answered with four straight points to extend the lead back to 10 on a Chris Flemmings’ lay-up just 46 seconds later.

Knight scored all 15 of his points in the final 20 minutes. He twice cut the deficit to eight points on dishes from Dixon, the final one at 73-65 with 10:17 remaining. Each time UNCW responded with a bucket on the other end. A Justin Pierce putback with nine and a half minutes remaining cut the margin to eight once again, 75-67.

Ingram scored seven-straight points for UNCW to extend the lead to double digits for good. After knocking down a 3-pointer from the left side, he canned a step-back jumper at 7:28 mark to push the lead to 82-68. The Tribe could get no closer than the final margin of 11 the rest of the way.

W&M shot better than 50 percent from the floor for the 13th time in the last 18 games and the 17th time overall on the year, hitting 55.9 percent (33-of-59). The Tribe connected on 11-of-26 from 3-point range (42.3 percent) and shot 73.9 percent (17-of-23) at the free throw line. The 94 points were a program record in the CAA Tournament. Dixon finished with 10 points and five assists, while Rowley and junior Greg Malinowski tallied nine points apiece. Dixon finished his senior season with 576 points, which ranks eighth in W&M history.

UNCW finished the contest at 58.9 percent (33-of-56) from the field, 52.4 percent (11-of-21) from 3 and hit 28-of-33 (84.8 percent) at the free throw line. Ingram led the Seahawk attack with 27 points on 9-of-14 shooting and 6-of-9 from 3-point range to go along with eight assists. Flemming tallied 26 points, including a perfect 13-of-13 at the free throw line, while Bryce added 16 points.

The Tribe wraps up the season with 17 wins, which is the 10th most in program history. The Green and Gold set school record for scoring average (81.7), points (2534), assists (543), assists per game (17.5), 3-pointers per game (9.13).