Photo - of -
Senior wing Danny Sumner led the Tribe with eight points to go along with four rebounds and two assists, while senior Steven Hess, junior Marcus Kitts and sophomore Quinn McDowell each added seven points apiece in the victory. Kitts pulled down a team-high nine rebounds, while Schneider, who only scored three points, tallied seven boards and a team-high three assists and two steals. W&M improved to 22-9 overall on the year, while Northeastern dropped to 20-12.
After Northeastern scored the first four points of the game, W&M went on a 16-2 run to take a double-digit advantage. Senior guard Sean McCurdy led the Green and Gold charge in the early going with a pair of 3-pointers as the College connected on four over the stretch. Hess found McDowell for a lay-up at the 9:14 mark to put the College on top 16-6.
A Chaisson Allen lay-up at the 7:25 mark cut the Tribe lead to 20-11, but W&M turned up the defensive pressure and took a commanding lead toward the end of the half. After a pair of free throws from NU’s Matt Janning at the 6:30 mark close the margin to nine once again, W&M went on a 9-2 run to take its largest lead of the contest at 16 points. With the Tribe leading by 10, 25-15, in the first half, freshman guard Matt Rum came up with a huge play. The Green and Gold rookie beat the shot clock, canning a 3-pointer from the left wing and in the process was fouled. He knocked down the free throw to complete the rare 4-point play with just under three minutes remaining in the first half.
McDowell hit two free throws on the next Tribe possession to push the lead to 31-15 with 2:21 left. Northeastern cut the margin to 14 at the intermission as a Manny Adako lay-up with 24 seconds remaining ended a seven-minute field goal drought for the Huskies. The bucket narrowed the gap to 31-17 at the break. W&M connected on a steady 47.8 percent (11-of-23) from the floor and 38.5 percent (5-of-13) from 3-point range in the opening 20 minutes of play, while limiting NU to just 24 percent (6-of-25) from the floor and 10 percent (1-of-10) from 3-point range.
The basket by Adako at the end of the half signified the start of a Husky run as NU scored the first nine points out of the second stanza. The 11-0 overall run cut the Tribe lead to 31-26. An Adako lay-up followed a steal and fast-break dunk from Janning as part of the spurt. W&M missed its opening six shots from the floor in the second frame and turned the ball over twice.
A Rum runner at the 13:18 mark pushed the Tribe lead back to eight, 34-26, but Northeastern answered with 11 of the game’s next 14 points to complete the comeback and draw even at 37 on the second of two straight Adako lay-ups with 8:57 remaining. It completed a 22-6 run from the end of the first half to knot the game.
With the contest tied at 39, Sumner pulled down a huge offensive rebound off a missed Tribe 3-pointer. On the play, he scored on a driving lay-up, drew the foul and then converted on the freebie to give the College a 42-39 lead with 5:25 remaining.
After a Chaisson Allen steal and fast-break lay-up, Janning made a steal on the defensive end and was fouled. He drilled both free throws to give Northeastern a 43-42 lead, its first advantage since the 16:54 mark of the first half when it led 4-3.
With 1:30 remaining, Kitts made a big play for the Green and Gold as he followed up a missed jumper with an acrobatic tip-in to put the College back on top 44-43. Adako answered on the other end with his 14th point of the game on a jumper, giving NU a 45-44 advantage with 1:01 remaining.
It was Schneider to the rescue on the ensuing W&M possession. McDowell found the senior captain on the right wing, and the Phoenix, Ariz., native connected on his only bucket of the game to put W&M on top 47-45 with just 37 seconds left. The Tribe defense dodged seven chances at the game-tying score over the final 21 seconds. And after a banking Nkem Ojougboh putback from the right side rolled off the front of the rim at the horn, the College celebrated its second championship team appearance in the last three years.
For the game, W&M finished only shooting 37 percent (17-of-46) to go along with seven 3-pointers. The Tribe defense though was up to the task against an efficient Northeastern squad that featured a pair of first team all-league guards. W&M limited the Huskies to just 34 percent (17-of-50) from the floor and 15.4 percent (2-of-13) from 3-point range. NU was able to connected on 9-of-10 from the charity stripe.
Fans can catch the championship game over the Tribe Radio Network with Jay Colley, Bill McDonald and Charlie Woollum on the call. The Tide 92.3 FM in Williamsburg is the flagship station of the Tribe Radio Network. The contest will be available over the Web at TribeAthletics.com. Live stats can be found at CAASports.com or by following the link on the schedule page at TribeAthletics.com.