|Tribe Picks Up Sweep In Wild Finish|
WILMINGTON, North Carolina - Junior forward Tim Rusthoven swished the second of two free throws with 0.4 seconds on the clock to lift William & Mary past UNCW, 73-72, in a dramatic Colonial Athletic Association men's basketball finish Wednesday night at Trask Coliseum.
The surging Tribe swept the regular season series between the two teams to improve to 13-15 overall and 7-10 in the CAA. The Seahawks dropped their third straight and five games in six outings to fall to 10-19 and 5-12.
Rusthoven was one of three Tribe players with 17 points on the night. Junior guard Brandon Britt and sophomore guard Marcus Thornton each matched Rusthoven's team-high total and junior guard Julian Boatner chipped in 11 points.
Senior forward Keith Rendleman recorded his eighth consecutive double-double and his 19th of the season with 24 points and 11 rebounds to pace three Seahawks in double figures. Sophomore guard Freddie Jackson scored a career-high 16 points and junior guard Chris Dixon had 14 for UNCW.
"I'm disappointed that we came up short for our seniors," said third-year UNCW Head Coach Buzz Peterson. "It would have been nice to get the win for them. It was a game of runs. We felt good about being ahead five points at the half, but they stepped it up and Thornton and Britt have been playing very well lately."
On "Senior Night" at Trask Coliseum, the Tribe appeared to have the game in hand and led, 72-66, when Britt converted a pair of free throws with just 16 seconds remaining.
However, Rendleman drained just his sixth three-pointer of the season with 9.5 seconds left and after Thornton missed the front end of a bonus situation with 8.2 seconds on the clock, junior guard Tanner Milson banged in a triple from the left corner with 1.9 ticks showing.
The floppy-haired Rusthoven, however, slipped behind the Seahawk defense and was fouled while attempting the game-winning shot near the bucket at the opposite end of the floor. The Winfield, Ill., product clanked the first attempt, but swished the second and another desperation three-point attempt by Rendleman went wide of the basket as time expired.
W&M rallied from a 39-34 halftime deficit by attacking UNCW's zone and making the Seahawks pay down the stretch. With Thornton directing traffic, the Tribe scored 13 of the first 16 points of the second half to grab control. Britt had a pair of triples in the spurt and Matt Rum's trifecta from the right wing gave W&M a 47-42 lead at 15:35.
UNCW then outscored W&M, 11-3, over the next 5:36 to take a 53-50 edge. Rendleman sank the first of two free throws and the Seahawks led by three points until the two teams starting trading buckets to set up the wild finish.
Rendleman's second dunk of the game with 1:08 on the clock sliced W&M's lead to 68-66, but the Seahawks were forced to foul Tony Shaver's club and used valuable minutes getting the Tribe into the bonus situation. W&M finally reached the one-and-one threshold with 27 seconds left when Thornton made his free throws to extend the margin to 72-66.
The Tribe came out firing and grabbed an 18-15 lead at the second media timeout of the first half by connecting on eight of its first 11 shots. Five different W&M players scored in the opening minutes as the Tribe set the tone early.
No more than four points separated the two teams in the early going until the Tribe used a 14-3 spurt midway through the half to build a 10-point cushion. Thornton, who did not attempt a field goal in the first 10:38 of the contest, scored six straight points to start the run and his conventional three-point play with 4:52 left staked the Tribe to a 34-24 margin.
The Seahawks came roaring back, however, to score the final 15 points of the first half while holding W&M scoreless over the final 4:52 of the period. Jackson was the catalyst for UNCW, scoring the first seven points in the rally, and making all four of his field goal attempts in the first period en route to 11 points.
Both teams wound up shooting better than 50 percent in the first half. UNCW torched the nets for 62.5 percent on 15-of-24 from the field and W&M made 50 percent on 13-of-16 shots.
GAME NOTES: The Seahawks lead the all-time series by a 40-21 margin...UNCW stands 20-10 against W&M at Trask Coliseum....W&M has won five of its last six games...UNCW wound up shooting 53.8 percent on the night on 28-of-52 field goals...Rendleman went 9-of-13 from the floor and had four blocks and three steals in his final home appearance...There were 16 lead changes in the contest...Rendleman now has 1,492 points and 1,045 rebounds in 122 career appearances...Dixon lead the Seahawks with five assists...Each team had 14 turnovers...W&M made 6-of-8 from deep in the second half...The Tribe made 12-of-15 free throws...UNCW lost its second straight home game and finished 9-5 at Trask Coliseum this season...It was UNCW's second straight one-point loss at home.