Tribe Survives Late Comeback By Seahawks
Courtesy: UNCW Athletic Communications
WILLIAMSBURG, Virginia - Hot-shooting William & Mary built a 25-point lead with 11 minutes remaining and withstood a furious UNCW rally for a wild 92-86 victory in a Colonial Athletic Association men's basketball game Wednesday night at Kaplan Arena.
The Tribe, who had lost four in a row to UNCW, halted a two-game losing streak to improve to 10-14 overall and 4-9 in the CAA. The Seahawks dropped their second straight and fifth in six outings to fall to 9-16 and 4-9. The Seahawks suffered their third straight road loss and now stand 1-13 away from home this season.
W&M shot 68.4 percent in the second half and wound up connecting on 60.9 percent overall to survive the late comeback by the Seahawks.
"We couldn't guard them man-to-man in the first half and got so far behind," said Buzz Peterson, UNCW's third-year head coach. "I'm very proud of the guys for coming back. We just dug ourselves too deep a hole. Give William & Mary credit for shooting the basketball. They were able to knock down their three's."
Sophomore guard Marcus Thornton led four of W&M's starters in double figures with a game-high 25 points, including 15 after the break. He added five rebounds and five assists and connected on 9-of-10 at the free throw line for the Tribe, which went 24-of-27 at the charity stripe.
Junior guard Brandon Britt added 22 points and six assists, junior forward Tim Rusthoven had 13 points and junior forward Kyle Gaillard chipped in 10 for the Tribe.
Senior forward Keith Rendleman recorded his 15th double-double of the season and led four Seahawks in double figures with a season-high 24 points and 13 rebounds. Junior guard Chris Dixon added 19 points, freshman guard Craig Ponder scored 16 and junior guard Tanner Milson finished with 13 for the Seahawks.
W&M led, 51-35, at halftime and appeared to be in control in the second half before UNCW threw a big scare into the Tribe.
A Julian Boatner layup gave the Tribe its largest lead of the game, 73-48, with 11:43 left to play and the tide turned. W&M went cold and the Seahawks capitalized with two huge runs to make the game close.
With Dixon scoring on the outside and Rendleman going to work inside, the Seahawks cut into the large margin and used a 15-2 spurt to narrow the deficit to 12 points. Rendleman's bucket inside with just over seven minutes remaining chopped the lead to 75-63.
The Tribe answered with six out of the next nine points to increase the lead back to 81-66, but the Seahawks went on another run and Dixon's triple with 1:40 left pulled the game to one possession, 83-80.
Thornton raced down for a layup on the next trip down the floor, however, and then converted 7-of-8 free throws in the final 46 seconds to help the Tribe improve to 7-4 at home this season.
After the lead jockeyed back-and-forth in the early going, the Tribe got untracked midway through the first half and hit 55.6 percent from the floor, including 8-of-14 behind the arc, to build a 51-35 lead at intermission.
The 51 points matched the most points scored in the first half by an opponent this season, equaling Richmond's total in a 101-58 rout in the second game of the season on Nov. 13.
Ponder tied the score at 20-all with a triple on the left wing at 10:23 and things went south quickly for the Seahawks.
Thornton made a pair of free throws to kick start a 10-3 run for the Tribe and Britt took over. The junior from Chesapeake, Va., scored 14 of his 17 points in the first half the rest of the way as W&M led by as many as 22 points in the opening stanza.
A dunk by Thornton with just over a minute to play extended the margin to 51-29 before the Seahawks scored six straight points to close out the period and go to the dressing room trailing by 16 points.
The Seahawks return home to entertain CAA frontrunner Northeastern in the annual Homecoming game on Saturday at 7 p.m. The Tribe visits regional rival Old Dominion on Saturday in a Noon clash at the Ted Constant Center.
GAME NOTES: The Seahawks have five games remaining the regular season, three at home and two on the road....Coach Buzz Peterson now stands 19-37 against CAA opposition in three seasons and 5-21 in conference road games...UNCW had won three straight over W&M in Williamsburg...UNCW leads the all-time series by a 40-20 margin...The Seahawks are 19-11 against the Tribe in Williamsburg...W&M won the battle of the boards, 33-32...Rendleman had a full stat line with three blocks and two steals to go along with his double-double...UNCW had 15 offensive rebounds...W&M scored 24 fast break points...Both teams have identical 4-9 conference records...The Seahawks shot 51.3 percent in the second half...UNCW committed a season-low six turnovers and was under 10 for only the third time this season...Matt Rum was the lone W&M starter not in double figures and he had eight points...Rendleman played all 40 minutes for the first time this season.