Press release courtesy of Kris Sears, William & Mary Athletics
WASHINGTON, D.C – Behind its sharp-shooting and a stingy defense, William & Mary advanced to the quarterfinals of 2023 Jersey Mike’s Colonial Athletic Association Championship with its largest tourney victory, 73-51, over Elon on Saturday afternoon.
W&M (13-19) connected on a school tournament record 14 3-pointers, led in large part by senior Miguel Ayesa. He equaled his career-high with 23 points and in the process set a program mark for 3-pointers in a CAA Tournament game with seven, one off the overall tourney mark. The Tribe’s 14 3-pointers as a team was also just one shy of the tournament record. The 22-point margin of victory was the largest for W&M in a CAA Tournament game.
On the other end, the Tribe limited the Phoenix to just 51 points, the second-best defensive performance for a Green and Gold team in CAA Tournament history. Elon shot just 38.2% from the floor, including 33.3% in the second half.
Leading the charge on the defensive end was graduate guard Chris Mullins. He limited CAA Rookie of the Year Max Mackinnon to a season-low two points on just 1-of-4 shooting.
Ayesa connected on 3-pointers in two of the Tribe’s first four possessions to jump start the offense. His third triple of the contest at the 9:44 mark capped an 8-0 Tribe run and extended the lead to 20-10.
Elon closed to within four, 29-25, on five-straight points from Sean Halloran, but Ayesa answered with a 3-pointer. The Green and Gold led by seven, 34-27, at the break, hitting seven first-half 3-pointers.
The Phoenix again closed to within four less than two minutes into the second half, and Ayesa responded with another 3-pointer. In total, the Tribe’s first six made field goals of the second half came from beyond the arc.
A personal Tyler Rice 9-point run pushed the Tribe lead to double figures for good. He knocked down a pair of 3-pointers and was fouled on another, hitting three free throws to give W&M a 56-44 lead with 10:12 remaining.
After a Halloran jumper made it a 10-point game, the Tribe used a 15-1 to put the game away.
W&M finished the game shooting 40.4%. The Tribe outrebounded Elon, 40-32, and dished out 17 assists on its 23 made field goals.
Junior Ben Wight tied his career-high with 13 rebounds to go along with eight points and four assists. Rice and sophomore Matteus Case each finished with 11 points, and Case add seven rebounds.
The Tribe faces CAA regular season champion and No. 1 seed Hofstra in the quarterfinals on Sunday, March 5. Tip-off is set for noon from the Entertainment and Sports Arena and the game will be broadcast on FloHoops.