HEMPSTEAD, N.Y.— Tony Shaver loved the simplicity of basketball on Saturday, when William and Mary routed James Madison in Williamsburg.
On Wednesday night on Long Island? Not so much.
William and Mary endured a scoreless drought of more than six minutes in the second half as Hofstra routed the Tribe 77-60 in front of 748 fans at the Mack Sports Complex.
“Their defense was better than our defense tonight and more intense than our defense tonight,” Shaver said. “And they made shots that we didn’t. Sometimes it’s a simple game.”
Four days after William and Mary (10-7, 2-2) beat the defending Colonial Athletic Association tournament champion Dukes 78-56, the Tribe trailed Hofstra — the preseason pick to finish last in the CAA — by 23 with 7:37 left before a 16-3 run closed the gap to 67-57 with 2:37 remaining.
William and Mary’s snowy trip to Long Island on Tuesday took 13 ½ hours, but Shaver had little interest in using the travel as an excuse.
The Tribe shot just 38.3 percent (23-of-60), its second-lowest figure of the season. Hofstra (7-12, 3-1) pulled down 32 defensive rebounds on its way to outrebounding W&M 41-31, the third-largest deficit of the season for the Tribe.
“We had an opportunity that we didn’t take advantage of,” Shaver said. “You’ve just got to get through (the travel) and move forward.”
Marcus Thornton, who didn’t start because he was late to a team meeting, led the Tribe with 17 points — 11 of which he scored after W&M fell into the 23-point hole. Tim Rusthoven added 13 points and eight rebounds.
The Tribe trailed 34-33 at the half and took the lead on Rusthoven’s layup 20 seconds into the second. But with Hofstra up 45-39, the two teams traded seven scoreless possessions over a 2:12 span before Jamall Robinson drained a 3-pointer to begin a five-possession stretch in which the Pride scored 13 unanswered points to complete a 17-0 run.
Shaver burned two timeouts during the Hofstra spurt, but nothing could unthaw the Tribe, which scored one field goal in a 19-possession span.
The loss was just the fourth in the last 13 games for William and Mary, but it also reminded Shaver of how far the Tribe still have to go before cementing themselves as a title contender in the CAA.
“I think great teams play at a high level on a consistent basis," Shaver said. “And we’ve been really good on a fairly consistent basis. But not every day.”Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun