The William and Mary men’s basketball team shot past UNCW, 93-70, on the strength of a school-record 16 3-pointers, Monday night at Kaplan Arena. The Tribe topped the 90-point mark for the third time this season and first in CAA play, shooting nearly 57 percent from the field, and handing the Seahawks their most-lopsided CAA loss of the year. The Green and Gold upped its season mark to 16-9, including an 8-4 ledger in league action, while UNCW, which had won two of its last three entering the game, dropped to 8-21 on the year and 2-12 in conference play.
Senior guard Brandon Britt topped the Tribe in scoring for the second straight game. After earning his second start of the year, the Chesapeake, Va., native tallied a game-high 22 points on 8-of-11 from the field and 4-of-5 from 3-point range. Junior guard Marcus Thornton added 15 points, five assists and three steals, while senior Kyle Gaillard finished with 14 points on 4-of-8 from the floor and 3-of-6 from 3-point range. The win marked the 16th time in program history that the Tribe topped 16 wins in a season.
Britt started the Tribe off on the right foot as he scored eight straight to give the home team an early lead over the Seahawks. He drilled back-to-back 3-pointers, before converting a fast-break lay-up just over four minutes in to push the lead to 11-7.
After a Gaillard 3-pointer from the left wing gave the Green and Gold a 19-16 cushion, UNCW answered with four straight points to retake the advantage. Luke Hager and Addison Spruill scored on back-to-back drives to the hoop to put the visitors on top, 20-19, with 11:34 remaining in the opening half.
Thornton responded on the ensuing Tribe possession, hitting a leaning jumper in the lane and drawing the foul. He converted the free throw for the conventional 3-point play that sparked 10 straight points from the Green and Gold. Britt scored four straight, including a driving lay-up, before sophomore Terry Tarpey found freshman Omar Prewitt in transition for a 3-pointer from the right corner to force a UNCW timeout and give W&M a 29-20 lead at the nine-minute mark.
After a pair of Seahawk free throws, freshman Daniel Dixon came up with a big block on the defensive end that led to a 3-pointer from Thornton at the top of the key. Britt’s fast-break lay-up at the 7:37 mark forced another UNCW timeout and extended the advantage to 36-22. In all, the W&M run totaled 17-2 over a four-minute stretch.
The lead reached as many as 15, 39-24, on a Britt 3-pointer from the right corner at the 6:01 mark, before the Seahawks answered with a run. UNCW scored nine straight points as Ben Eblen capped the spurt with a driving lay-up and a 3-pointer from the right wing. His triple closed the gap to 39-33 with just under two minutes remaining
A Thornton banking bucket closed the half and sent the Tribe to the locker room with a 44-36 advantage. The Green and Gold shot 60 percent (15-of-25) from the floor in the opening 20 minutes, including an 8-of-14 effort (57.1 percent) from 3-point range. Thornton (13) and Britt (17) combined for 30 of the Tribe’s 44 first-half points.
W&M quickly pushed the lead back to double-digits on senior Tim Rusthoven’s jump hook to start the second half. The Green and Gold piece together a quick 11-0 run to put the game out of reach. Tarpey started it with a 3-pointer from the left corner, before sophomore Sean Sheldon tipped in a missed lay-up for two more. Thornton picked the pocket UNCW’s Craig Ponder and went in for the fast-break two-handed slam, pushing the Tribe margin to 61-42 and forcing a UNCW timeout.
The run was not done there as Rusthoven knocked down a jumper, and the Green and Gold topped it off with a Prewitt steal leading to a fast-break lay-up for Tarpey. The bucket extended the advantage to 65-42 with 10:54 remaining. The lead ballooned to as much as 26, 75-49, on a Daniel Dixon 3-pointer at the 8:43 mark, and Wilmington could get no closer than 20 points the rest of the way.
The Tribe shot a sizzling 56.9 percent (33-of-58) from the floor, including a 53.3 percent (16-of-30) clip from 3-point range. The Green and Gold connected on 11-of-14 (78.6 percent) from the charity stripe and dished out 19 assists on its 33 made field goals. It marked the fourth time in school history that a W&M team made 16 3-pointers and the first since the 2010 NIT game at North Carolina.
W&M also held a 32-26 advantage on the glass, led by five from Tarpey. The Tribe sophomore turned in a nice all-around stat line with seven points, five rebounds, a career-high tying five assists, two blocked shots and a steal. Dixon knocked down a trio of 3-pointers to finish with nine points and added a career-high two blocked shots.
UNCW shot 47.5 percent (28-of-59) from the field and connected on 7-of-17 (41.2 percent) from 3-point range. Luke Hager and Addison Spruill led the Seahawks in scoring with 10 points apiece off the bench.
The Tribe returns to action when it plays its third game in five days at the College of Charleston on Wednesday, Feb. 19. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. at TD Arena in Charleston, S.C. Fans can listen to the broadcast on the Tribe Radio Network with Jay Colley and Charlie Woollum on the call. The Tide 92.3 FM and 107.9 Bach FM are the flagship stations of the Tribe Radio Network and the audio feed can be heard on the Web at TribeAthletics.com.