For an 11 minute, 58 second period spanning the first and second halves of the final game on Saturday, the gap between James Madison and William & Mary never grew past four points. And then, to JMU's dismain, the Tribe had a seven-point lead with 13 and a half minutes to play in the game.
Well, Rayshawn Goins found this unacceptable.
As, apparently, did the rest of the Dukes, who used a 17-2 run in the final ten minutes of the second half to send William & Mary packing, propelling them to the semifinals of the CAA Tournament with a 72-67 win.
Goins, a player whose inefficiency frustrates me to almost no end, decided to start attacking and shut me up yesterday by scoring 10 points in the final 9:20 of the game, including six in a 2:02 span to give the Dukes their first lead in over eight minutes.
On the flip side, the Tribe made committed a serious error in their offensive attack, which allowed the Dukes to mount that comeback in those final ten minutes. Allow me to illustrate.
W&M's Tim Rusthoven, who I lauded as the conference's most underrated player in my personal CAA awards last week, scored 15 points in the first 29 minutes and 54 seconds. He attempted eight field goals (still too low for him at that point, but I digress) and made five of them while shooting 5 of 7 from the free throw line. So he had eight attempts in the first 30 minutes for 15 points.
He finished the night with the exact same shooting numbers, meaning that over those final 10 minutes, Rusthoven didn't get to attempt a single shot.
Now, I understand that he committed his fourth foul with 7:18 remaining, forcing Tony Shaver to be more cautious with his big man underneath. However, that doesn't mean that you should alienate him from your offensive system.
For example, James Madison's A.J. Davis committed his fourth foul with more than 10 minutes remaining in the game. Yet he remained active in the offense and contributed four more points for the Dukes after that foul.
In this kind of game, you have to gauge whether or not your team can succeed without a player's contributions on offense for seven minutes versus three minutes. You'd rather have him in there for those four extra minutes getting offensive looks, and so Shaver could have told Rusthoven to stick his butt in the paint and play smart, but continue to play his game and get some points. If you foul out, you foul out.
Instead, Rusthoven was rendered essentially useless in those final 10 minutes, and the results were evident: the Tribe were outscored by 10 after his final shot attempt.
Luckily for the Dukes, they were able to capitalize. They now play on to face Delaware in the semifinals of the Tournament. The game can currently be seen on NBCSN, the winner of which will player Northeastern on Monday evening in the championship game.