anny Sumner plans to hold onto this. David Schneider and Sean McCurdy, too.
Not that they're masochists, but when a promising season instead goes U.S. auto industry and ends with a 70-48 collision into a bridge abutment, well, that will get a fellow off the couch and into the gym.
William and Mary is left to pick up the pieces and move forward after a first-round CAA tournament crunch job against a James Madison team it played to the wire twice in the regular season.
"I'll hold onto this game," said Sumner, the Tribe's junior forward, "just as a reminder that you always need to be getting better, because we don't want to have the same kind of season next year. I think we need to keep that in our minds as we prepare in the off-season."
One year after an unlikely run to the tournament championship game and the program's first winning record in a decade, the Tribe completed a 10-20 season with yet another one-and-done at the Richmond Coliseum.
"We definitely want to use it as motivation, for sure," said McCurdy, a junior guard. "We can use it as motivation, but we don't want to let it get us down. We can use it to help us get better in the off-season."
The culprit Friday was familiar. The CAA's lowest-scoring team in league games couldn't put the ball in the basket. William and Mary didn't crack 50 points for the sixth time this season, and its 1-for-18 shooting performance from 3-point territory was particularly gruesome.
On this night, defense betrayed the Tribe as well. James Madison shot 53.8 percent from the field — 59 percent in the second half, the second-highest mark a W&M opponent shot all season.
"I didn't see this kind of performance coming," Tribe coach Tony Shaver said.
No reason he should have. Following a dismal January, the Tribe went 4-4 in February. The month began with a win against CAA title contender Northeastern and ended with a one-point win against Drexel in the season finale.
William and Mary was just 1-5 this season in games decided by four points or fewer, or in overtime. Last year, the Tribe was 9-1 in such games, including three in the CAA tournament.
"It's a different team," Schneider said. "You have different chemistry. Throughout this season, we clicked at times and didn't click at times. You need a consistency from everyone that we just didn't have this year."
Last year's team relied on a fairly settled rotation of players that included seniors and 1,000-point career scorers Liamis Kisielius and Nathan Mann — both of whom hit game-winning shots in tournament wins.
"This year, you could pretty much flip a coin on the starting five for most of the season," Schneider said. "A lot of that was due to injury. Some guys played well in practice, other guys didn't, and they earned the right to play."
The Tribe worked in McCurdy, a transfer who began his college career at Arkansas, as well as freshmen Quinn McDowell and Kendrix Brown. In addition, junior forward Alex Smith, a physical presence around the basket, was hampered by a shoulder injury much of the season.
"I don't think our chemistry really meshed as well as we thought it would," Sumner said.
"We had a lot of freshmen and transfers and it took time for everyone to get together. We'll have all those guys back next year, and hopefully, we can get the chemistry we need to be one of the better teams in the conference."
The Tribe loses post player Peter Stein and forward Chris Darnell. Schneider and Sumner, the two leading scorers, should be the leaders. The Tribe signed a guard and a forward for next season and has a 6-7 transfer, JohnMark Ludwick, who will be eligible next season.
"Danny and I are going to be seniors, and pretty much half the team will be seniors," Schneider said. "We'll have a great group of guys, good chemistry going in. We were still just trying to get to know each other halfway through the season.
"I'm really looking forward to next season, my senior season. I think once that team chemistry bonds, we're going to be pretty hard to beat."
The Tribe learned the hard lesson that past success guarantees nothing, even with a core group of returnees.
"We have to think of all the close games that we lost this season," Sumner said, "and the way we ended this season tonight — losing by 20-plus points — just keep that in our minds when we're getting ready for next year, and come out ready to play."