William and Mary falters at Elon with third CAA loss in four games

ELON, N.C. — William and Mary coach Tony Shaver was left questioning his team's toughness, execution and consistency after slipping to its third CAA loss in four games.

And as the Tribe sunk beneath .500 in the Colonial Athletic Association, nearing the midway point in the schedule, the team and Shaver assessed the offensive shortcomings and the need to find some positive juices flowing during its upcoming stretch of four straight home games.

"I don't care whether you play in Williamsburg, in Elon or in Timbuktu, you can play the game hard," Shaver said. "We don't always play the game hard, and that rips my heart out."

The Tribe fell 71-62 at Elon on Saturday night, a loss marked with cold stretches from the field, a comeback that came up short and one key play that was etched in the minds of Shaver and his players.

The Tribe was building momentum after erasing a 10-point second half deficit. With the game tied at 58, W&M's Daniel Dixon drove for a three-point play. To answer, Elon's Dainan Swoope went down the court and executed a similar play.

Then, after Jack Whitman scored in the post to cut the lead to one, a loose ball on Elon's end splashed around the key, looking like a sure-fire grab-and-go opportunity for W&M.

But not this night.

Elon's Dmitri Thompson dove on the floor, found a wide-open Swoope on the wing, and Swoope buried a game-changing 3-pointer.

Dixon missed a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession, sending W&M to a head-shaking defeat.

"We had three or four guys who could've gotten on it, and none of us did," W&M's Omar Prewitt said. "They got a three out of it, and turned this game in their favor."

W&M (9-9, 3-4 CAA) never quite found its rhythm on the offensive end, shooting a dismal 33.3 percent from the field and turning in its second lowest scoring output of the season.

The Tribe went without a field goal for a span of more than seven minutes in the second half.

Dixon, its leading scorer, mustered 13 points on 5-of-16 shooting, including an 0-for-6 showing from 3-point territory. Prewitt, who was 5-of-17 from the field, led the Tribe with 14 points.

"I don't think we were running our offense," Dixon said. "That was the problem. We were getting bad shots."

W&M's three CAA victories have all come by a single possession. The Tribe snuck by Elon in Williamsburg on Jan. 5, when Dixon scored 32 points.

The Tribe turned in a solid defensive effort in the first half Saturday, holding the Phoenix to a season-low 22 points.

That defense turned sour in the second half, and turnovers plagued W&M, allowing Elon using an 8-0 run to get ahead.

"We don't have the leadership we need on the floor to be good for 40 minutes," Shaver said.

W&M turned the ball over 11 times. With Elon struggling late in the first half — the Phoenix made just two field goals in the last 11 minutes of the half — the Tribe couldn't pull away.

"It goes back to a lack of consistency and execution," Shaver said. "We go wandering away from what we like to do as a ball club. We had only nine assists, which is not a good sign for us. Any time we have more turnovers than assists, we're not going to win a basketball game.

"I think we made the wrong decision very frequently (this game). We're driving, a guy's open, we didn't make that pass. We're open to shoot it, we don't shoot it then we turn it over. We didn't make good decisions."

W&M is at home for its next four CAA games, with Delaware and league-leader UNC Wilmington coming to town this weekend.

If there's a vital moment late in the game, count on Shaver to use the loose ball against Elon as an example of the hustle W&M needs to exhibit.

"Kind of the story of our season, really," Shaver said. "Lack of consistency in our effort, lack of consistency in our execution has been our story all year long. It's certainly the story in these 40 minutes.

"We got out-toughed. They were just a tougher basketball team than we were. You go on the road and expect to win in the CAA, you better be tough. We weren't very tough (this game)."

Women's basketball

Elon 60, William and Mary 58: The Phoenix (14-5, 6-1) moved into sole possession of the CAA lead by winning at Kaplan Arena as Lauren Brown hit a pair of free throws with just more than a second left.

For W&M (13-4, 3-3), Abby Rendle had 13 points, eight rebounds, five blocks and four steals. Marlena Tremba, Bianca Boggs and Victoria Reynolds each finished with 10 points.

A layup by the Tribe's Alexandra Masaquel tied the score at 58. Brown was fouled during a scramble for the rebound of an Elon miss.

Men's tennis

William and Mary (2-1) completed its season-opening trip with a 5-2 victory at Boston College. Wins by the tandems of Ryan Newman-Aidan Talcott and Christian Cargill-Damon Niquet earned the Tribe the doubles point, and Addison Appleby, Talcott — ranked 72nd nationally — Cargill and Michael Ruamthong followed with victories in singles.

Ruamthong posted his first W&M dual-match victory.

Women's tennis

William and Mary (2-0, 1-0 Colonial Athletic Association) shut out Elon 7-0 at McCormack-Nagelsen Tennis Center as Marie Faure, Lauren Goodman, Rosie Cheng and Olivia Thaler won in singles and doubles. The Phoenix (3-1) won only on doubles line 3.

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