Undefeated in-state counterparts meet Friday at Kaplan Arena, when the red-hot William & Mary Tribe host Hampton.
Who: Hampton (2-0) at William & Mary (3-0)
When: Friday, Nov. 12, 7 p.m. ET
Where: Kaplan Arena; Williamsburg, Va.
Watch: LIVE on FloHoops
The two teams roads to undefeated starts have been quite a bit different. Hampton blasted Newport News Apprentice School on Tuesday, 95-63, six days after routing Mid-Atlantic Christian University, 112-52.
Not only is Friday Hampton’s first matchup with a Div. I opponent; William & Mary marks the first NCAA member on the Pirates’ docket thus far in 2019-20. Both Newport News Apprentice and Mid-Atlantic Christian are members of the United States Collegiate Athletic Association.
William & Mary, meanwhile, extended its start to 3-0 on Tuesday with a thrilling, 80-79 over a Wofford bunch that advanced to the Second Round of last season’s NCAA Tournament. A Bryce Barnes bucket in the paint with four seconds remaining gave the Tribe the win.
“This is a really, really good and a tough environment,” William & Mary coach Dane Fischer said, per Tribe Athletics. “Our guys showed a lot of character by sticking together down the stretch.”
Hampton Pirates At A Glance
Hampton left its longtime home in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference last year to join the Big South – the same league of which William & Mary’s opening-night opponent, High Point, is a member.
The Pirates finished on the positive side of .500 in both conference and overall play, the season culminating in a run to the semifinals of the College Insider Tournament.
Last year’s CIT invitation marked six consecutive postseason appearances for Hampton under coach Edward Joyner Jr., in his 11th season at the helm. The Pirates won an automatic berth into the 2018 NIT by virtue of claiming the regular-season MEAC championship, and went to back-to-back NCAA Tournaments in 2015 and 2016.
Names To Know
Guard Jermain Marrow earned Preseason 1st Team All-Big South recognition, coming off a campaign in which he scored 24.4 points per game. Marrow’s a threat to score from long range, last year fitting 37 percent from 3-point attempts, and gets to the free-throw line effectively on the bounce.
Marrow’s scoring punch sets the table for his teammates, too, evidenced in his leading the Pirates with 171 assists a season ago. Through two games this season, Marrow’s posted 59 points, shot just under 44 percent from deep and dished 11 assists. Although it’s come against lesser competition, his credentials are in no doubt.
Hampton is working in new, leading contributors to the mix with Ben Stanley taking a heightened role from a season ago. JUCO transfers Edward Oliver-Hampton and Davion Warren both scored in double-figures in their first two starts.
Hampton plays an efficient, potent style of offense that’s big on points – last year, the Pirates averaged better than 81 per game – and low on mistakes.
Few teams anywhere in college basketball were as protective of possessions. Hampton ranked eighth nationally in percentage of possessions resulting in turnover, and fourth in steals allowed per KenPom.com advanced metrics.
Hampton will counter William & Mary’s size with its savvy perimeter play.
As an outstanding defensive player himself back at Johnson C. Smith, it’s unsurprising Joyner places emphasis on that side of the ball. Hampton’s been routinely great at keeping opponents off the offensive glass, and has held opponents below 35 percent from 3-point range every season since 2012-13.
Friday’s matchup is an intriguing one, as Hampton has great team size on the perimeter, but forwards Stanley and Oliver-Hampton go 6-foot-6 and 6-foot-8. Pairing up with William & Mary’s bigs could necessitate a zone or sagging man-to-man to force more outside looks.
William & Mary Tribe At A Glance
William & Mary’s off to a strong start under Fischer. The Wofford win accentuates a three-game streak that also included a 79-70 win on the road against a quality American University bunch. The Tribe rallied from a halftime deficit in that one.
Names To Know
The post duo of Nathan Knight and Andy Van Vliet are off to a dominant start for the Tribe. The two each scored 21 points in the win at Wofford, and Knight recorded a double-double with 10 rebounds.
A Preseason 1st Team All-Colonial Athletic Association honoree, Knight’s ability on the block is well established. He’s averaging 19.7 points, 11.3 rebounds and two blocked shots per game through the early going.
Adding the 7-foot Van Vliet to the mix can give defenses headaches, as Van Vliet has the ability to step out and stretch the floor. He’s made five 3-pointers through the Tribe’s first two games, tied for second-most with Luke Loewe and just behind Thornton Scott.
William & Mary’s initial contrast of size and range provides an ideal balance to frustrate defenses. Opponents cannot simply pack the interior to slow Knight, particularly when Van Vliet’s willing and able to step out with the perimeter players and shoot the three.
The result through three games is an collective 56.2 effective field-goal percentage, 47th best in all of Div. I, per KenPom.com.
The Tribe’s balance, with four players scoring in double-figures, contributes to the team’s efficiency.
Knight is a decided shot-alterer in the paint, with a block percentage of 5.9 percent and an overall defensive percentage rating of 32.3 – 41st best in Div. I.
Van Vliet ranks 244th in defensive percentage rating thus far. Penn transfer Tyler Hamilton adds another potential stopper on the perimeter to complement the inside presence William & Mary boasts.