Drexel suffered quite a jolt Sunday, going from a nine-point lead with less than four minutes to play in its bid for a weekend sweep of William & Mary to being on the wrong side of a 17-3 closing run that gave the Tribe a 69-64 victory at the Daskalakis Athletic Center.
It was a rare finish to the Colonial Athletic Association game. The Dragons (6-5, 1-3), who trounced the Tribe 82-58 on Saturday in the same building, did not score a basket on their final 10 offensive trips. Meanwhile, William & Mary (4-6, 2-3) went to the free-throw line on 11 consecutive possessions, connecting on 17 of 22 foul shots in the final 3:17.
“I can’t sugarcoat this,” Drexel coach Zach Spiker said. “This is a sick pit in my stomach right now. When I say that, that’s our entire locker room, because we’ve got a great group of competitors.”
Drexel led 61-52 when James Butler deposited Cam Wynter’s 11th assist of the day for a layup with 4:07 to play. But on nine of the Dragons’ last 10 possessions, they missed seven shots, committed one turnover, and missed the front end of a one-and-one.
Their only points came on three free throws by Zack Walton with 15 seconds to play that enabled Drexel to close to within 66-64. But Tribe freshman Connor Kochera, who had a game-high 26 points, responded with two free throws, giving him 12 in 14 attempts during this final surge, and the Dragons couldn’t respond.
William & Mary made its first 18 free-throw tries in the game and wound up 24-of-29 compared to 10-of-12 for Drexel, which was led by Mate Okros’ five three-point baskets and 17 points.
“They drove us, we fouled them, they got us in the air,” Spiker said. “We’ve got some guys that have been really, really solid defenders for us that fouled. Then we weren’t able to score.”
Offensively, the Dragons made six of their first 11 shots in the second half to take their largest lead at 48-38 but hit just 4-of-22 in the final 12 minutes. They finished with 20 assists and seven turnovers, compared to seven assists and 13 turnovers for the Tribe.
“I thought we had some looks that were pretty good, a couple of guys that hit some shots [Saturday] didn’t hit as many today,” Spiker said. “So we had some firepower but not all of it.”
In women’s games Sunday:
William & Mary 69, Drexel 53 – The Dragons (6-3, 3-1 CAA) were outscored 37-20 in the middle two quarters of the game at Williamsburg, Va.. Hannah Nihill scored 18 points and Tori Hyduke added 11 for Drexel.
La Salle 67, Duquesne 63 – At Pittsburgh, Kayla Spruill scored 16 of her 24 points in the second half and Claire Jacobs added 15, including three key free throws in the final 23 seconds, to lead the Explorers (6-7, 2-4) to the Atlantic 10 Conference victory.