William & Mary led Hofstra for exactly 16.9 seconds Saturday at the Mack Sports Complex, but it was the last 16.9 seconds that really mattered in a 48-47 victory over the wounded Pride. Hofstra mainstay Charles Jenkins fouled Kendrix Brown on a drive to the basket, and Brown made the layup and the foul shot to put the Tribe in front for the only time all game.
On Hofstra's final possession, the last shot went to freshman Halil Kanacevic, whose offensive rebound and following layup with 36.8 seconds to play had given the Pride a 47-45 lead. But this time the 6-8 Kanacevic was stationed above the three-point arc on the right wing. His shot was long and came off to Hofstra's Nathaniel Lester, who started back up to shoot and was hit by a defender as the final buzzer went off.
One official on the court blew his whistle and raised a hand to indicate a foul, but he was overruled by the official on the baseline. Hofstra coach Tom Pecora argued to no avail.
"They said they blew the whistle to end the game," Pecora said. "I don't believe that to be the case, but that's not why we lost the game.
"We talked in the huddle about driving the ball to the basket, but [Kanacevic] is a freshman . . . We can't depend on our freshmen to win the game. Lester brought it, but the other veterans didn't."
Lester led the Pride (8-6, 1-1 Colonial Athletic Association) with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Jenkins had 12 points and six assists and Kanacevic added six points, eight rebounds and two blocks. Hofstra outrebounded the Tribe 37-27 but shot only 31.5 percent and finished both halves cold.
William & Mary (10-2, 2-0) came in fresh off a win at Maryland on Wednesday. The Tribe had an earlier win over another ACC school, Wake Forest, that helped shoot it to No. 5 in the RPI rankings. Yet Hofstra opened with a 9-0 run and held the Tribe to 35.7 percent shooting, including 3-for-16 from three-point range. David Schneider (12 points) and Marcus Kitt (11) totaled 9-for-17 shooting and the rest of the team was 6-for-25.
"In 30 years, that's one of the best wins we've been a part of," said Tribe coach Tony Shaver, who won at Hofstra for the first time. "I thought this would be more difficult than winning at Maryland. Hofstra handled us physically. They bumped us off our cuts. Their courage and toughness was impressive."
The Pride let an eight-point first-half lead dwindle to 23-21 by missing its last nine shots and committing three turnovers, and it let a 35-27 second-half margin disappear by going 3-for-16 late with five turnovers. "We gave away a wonderful opportunity against the No. 5 RPI team in our gym," Pecora said. "They out-toughed us down the stretch."