Junior Tim Rusthoven paced the W&M effort with his third double-double in the last four games and fourth overall, finishing with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Sophomore guard Marcus Thornton poured in a game-high 16 points to go along with six rebounds and four assists, while junior Kyle Gaillard added 14 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the floor. Junior Brandon Britt capped W&M's double digit scoring output with 12 points, while freshman Terry Tarpey corralled seven rebounds.
Following a Marcus Damas lay-up with 3:42 remaining that gave Towson a 54-52 lead, the Green and Gold answered in a big way to gain control by reeling off 11 unanswered points. The burst originated on a Britt lay-up to tie the game on the ensuring Tribe possession. After W&M held the Tigers scoreless on three-straight possessions, the Tribe capitalized with four straight points from Thornton to take a lead in would not relinquish. The sophomore guard's driving lay-up with 2:26 remaining put W&M on top for good at 56-54, and the Tribe connected on seven of its final 11 free throws over the final two minutes in pulling out the seven-point victory.
As a team, the Green and Gold shot 40.4 percent (23-of-57) from the floor, including a 50-percent (11-of-22) clip in the second half. Against the CAA's top rebounding team in Towson, W&M finished the night with a decisive 43-31 advantage on the glass, including 16 offensive rebounds. The Tigers entered the contest averaging nearly 40 rebounds per game and outrebounding its foes by nearly six per game, which led the league and ranks 40th nationally. W&M finished the contest holding the advantage in points in the paint (34-30), points off of turnovers (17-4), second chance points (14-2) and bench scoring (15-11). The Tribe dished out 16 assists on its 23 made field goals, while only turning the basketball over eight times.
In opening half action, Rusthoven's lay-up off an assist from Tarpey gave W&M an early lead, 6-5, at the 15:50 mark. The Tribe lead was 9-7 following a Matt Rum 3-pointer from the left corner, before Towson reeled off 11 straight points to take a 16-9 advantage. The Tiger margin reached as many as nine, 19-10, on a Jerome Hariston 3-pointer with 9:35 remaining in the half.
Not to be outdone, the Tribe countered with an 11-0 burst of its own which was capped by a Britt slashing lay-up that gave W&M a 21-19 lead at the 5:48 juncture. The highlight of the stretch came at the 7:51 mark when Gaillard's two-handed baseline slam brought the Kaplan Arena faithful to its feet. W&M pushed the advantage to four, 26-22, courtesy of a Thornton trifecta, which was followed by a Gaillard fast-break dunk at the 4:39 mark.
Towson scored the next six points to regain the advantage, 28-26, after Jerrelle Benimon's old-fashion 3-point play with two and a half minutes left in the opening half. The Tribe answered on its next possession when Britt drilled a 3-pointer from the left corner, which gave W&M a 29-28 lead. Benimon scored the half's final points on a jumper from the top of the key with 44 seconds left that gave Towson a slim 30-29 advantage at intermission.
After the squads traded buckets to begin the second half, W&M took its first lead of the stanza, 36-35, on a Rusthoven lay-up at the 16:09 mark. The Green and Gold lead grew to 38-35 less than a minute later when Thornton flushed home a fast-break, one-handed tomahawk slam off of a feed from Britt.
Towson regained the edge, 39-38, on a Benimon lay up with 13:57 left to play. Over the next minute and 24 seconds the lead changed hands on four occasions as both squads imposed its will on one another. However, it was Towson who emerged with the lead, 44-42, with 12:33 left in regulation. The Tribe pulled even at 46 on a Rusthoven free throw at the 7:02 mark, and the teams traded the lead back and forth before W&M's final 11-point spurt.
Gaillard turned in a stout defensive effort against Benimon, who entered the game averaging 17 points and 11.5 rebounds per game, while shooting 53.2 percent from the field. The Towson junior finished with 12 points, but had just six rebounds and was only 5-of-12 from the floor, including a 1-of-8 shooting in the second half. Damas led Towson with 13 points and seven rebounds, while Hairston added 11 points. The Tigers finished the night shooting 39.7 percent (23-of-58) from the floor and was just 6-of-26 (23.1 percent) from 3-point range.
W&M returns to action at Delaware on Wednesday, Jan. 30. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. at the Bob Carpenter Center and fans can catch the action over the Tribe Radio Network with Jay Colley, Bill McDonald and Charlie Woollum on the call. The Tide 92.3 FM in Williamsburg is the flagship station of the Tribe Radio Network and the broadcast will be available on TribeAthletics.com.