WILMINGTON, North Carolina - Freshman guard Adam Smith tallied 25 points to lead five players in double figures for the first time this season as UNCW defeated William & Mary, 81-68, at the annual Homecoming celebration in Colonial Athletic Association men's basketball action Saturday night at Trask Coliseum.
The Seahawks broke their four-game losing streak with the victory and moved to 9-14 overall and 5-8 in conference play. The Tribe dropped its eighth straight contest and fell to 4-21 and 2-11.
Senior guard Trevor Deloach joined Smith in double figures with a season-high 16 points. Sophomore guards Tanner Milson and Donte Morales added 13 and 10 points, respectively. Junior forward Keith Rendleman compiled his 14th double double of the season, 20th of his career, with 12 points and 12 boards.
Senior forward Quinn McDowell led W&M with a game-high 27 points. Sophomore forward Tim Rusthoven added 16 markers and a team-high seven boards.
In front of a season high 4,553 fans, UNCW shot 71.4 percent from the floor in the second half to outlast W&M after holding a nine point lead, 34-25, at halftime. The Seahawks finished 26-of-51, or 51 percent, for the game on the way to scoring the second-most total points in a game this season, surpassed only by a 86-80 victory over Hofstra on Jan. 12.
W&M was clinging to an early advantage, 10-6, when UNCW went on a 10-3 run capped by treys from Deloach on back-to-back Seahawk possessions to give UNCW a 16-13 lead at the 13:50 mark.
The Seahawks still led 16-15 after a stretch of 2:35 without a basket, but UNCW ended the short drought in style with 16 straight points. Smith concluded the run when he went 2-of-2 from the charity stripe to give the Seahawks a 32-15 lead.
The Tribe showed its resiliency, though, coming back with eight consecutive markers of its own to cut the lead to nine, 32-23, off McDowell's baseline fadeaway with 46 seconds left in the half.
Rendleman ended the UNCW dry spell with a putback slam with 12 seconds left, but W&M answered. Two free throws from sophomore guard Brandon Britt with three seconds left sent the teams to the halftime break with UNCW holding a 34-25 advantage.
UNCW held W&M without a field goal for the first 6:55 of the second frame and used a 7-0 run during that span to extend its lead to 17 points, 47-30, off a driving layup from Deloach at the 13:36 mark.
The Seahawks maintained their advantage, and pushed the lead to its largest point, 57-39, at the 8:14 mark off of a Rendleman free throw.
The Tribe pushed back again, charging to an 8-1 run capped by two free throws by freshman guard Marcus Thornton.
But UNCW reenergized its defense, and never allowed W&M to pull into single digits. The closest the Tribe was able to come was 10 points, 77-67, off a three-point play from McDowell with under a minute to play.
UNCW travels to Delaware for a mid-week date with the Blue Hens Wednesday at 7 p.m. Also on Wednesday night, W&M returns to Williamsburg, Va., to host Old Dominion at 7 p.m. to begin a brief two-game home stint.
GAME NOTES: UNCW now holds a 40-19 lead in the all-time series and a 20-9 advantage at Trask Coliseum ... W&M freshman guard Marcus Thornton, who was coming off a 28-point effort against VCU, was held to 8 points on 2-of-10 shooting ... Seahawk reserves dominated their counterparts, outscoring the Tribe bench, 32-4 ... W&M committed just three turnovers, a season-low for the Tribe ... The win keeps UNCW coach Buzz Peterson undefeated against the Tribe in his career at 4-0 ... UNCW won the battle of the boards, 40-26...The Seahawks had 15 assists on 26 buckets...UNCW went 19-for-25 from the free throw line for 76 percent...Sophomore guard Tanner Milson paced the Seahawks with five assists...Freshman guard Adam Smith tied a school record by going a perfect 10-for-10 at the free throw line.