WILLIAMSBURG, Va. - In a match-up of teams tied for second in the Colonial Athletic Association standings, the William and Mary men’s basketball team suffered an 85-70 setback to the Towson Tigers on Saturday afternoon at Kaplan Arena. W&M overcame a seven-point halftime deficit to take as much as a three-point lead with nine minutes remaining, but a late run by the visitors gave the Tigers the victory. W&M fell to 15-9 overall and 7-4 in league play, while Towson improved to 17-9 on the year and 8-3 in CAA action.
Senior guard Brandon Britt led four Tribe players in double figures with 16 points on 4-of-7 from the floor and 7-of-8 from the charity stripe. Freshman Omar Prewitt added 15 points and five rebounds off the bench, while seniors Kyle Gaillard and Tim Rusthoven chipped in 11 points apiece. Rusthoven also topped the Green and Gold with seven rebounds.
After an offensive putback gave Towson a nine-point cushion in the opening minutes of the second half, W&M ripped off nine straight points to pull even. Rusthoven started the run with a conventional 3-point play off a jump hook in the lane. Gaillard canned a triple from the right wing, before junior guard Marcus Thornton wrapped a pass around to the left corner where senior Julian Boatner drilled a 3-pointer to tie the game at 45 less than three minutes into the second half.
Five straight Towson points on a Mike Burwell 3-pointer and a Marcus Damas lay-up put the visitors back on top by five, 52-47, with 13:54 remaining. A pair of Omar Prewitt 3-pointers sparked an 8-2 W&M run that gave the Tribe its first lead since the early stages of the first half. Prewitt’s second triple of the sequence in front of the home bench put W&M on top 55-54 with 11:25 remaining.
The lead bounced back and forth, before a Prewitt driving lay-up pushed the Tribe’s cushion to 62-59 with 9:19 left in the contest. Towson answered with eight straight points highlighted by the play of senior forward Jerrelle Benimon. The regining CAA Player of the Year scored six of the Tigers’s eight points on the run, including a jumper at the 5:14 mark that gave Towson a 67-62 advantage.
Thornton’s first and only bucket of the game came from 3-point range and narrowed the gap to 67-65 less than 30 seconds later, but it was as close as the Tribe would get. Benimon found Timajh Parker-Rivera for a dunk that started a run of 12 straight Towson points that put the game away.
W&M finished the contest shooting 41.8 percent (23-of-55) from the floor and was 9-of-25 (36 percent) from 3-point range. Behind Britt’s 7-of-8 effort, the Tribe connected on 83.3 percent (15-of-18) from the charity stripe. The Green and Gold dished out 14 assists on its 23 made field goals and turned the ball over just five times. Towson shot the ball at a 53.6-percent (30-of-56) clip, hitting the mark in both halves. The Tigers were 7-of-16 (43.8 percent) from 3-point range and hit on 83.3 percent (18-of-22) from the free throw line.
The Tribe led early behind six points from Rusthoven in the opening five and a half minutes. His pair of free throws at the 14:26 mark put the Tribe on top 9-6. Towson answered with 10 straight points to move in front. Back-to-back buckets from Burwell started things for the visitors, before two straight lay-ups from Rafriel Guthrie gave the Tigers a 16-9 lead with 10:40 remaining
W&M closed to 18-14 following a 3-pointer from Gaillard, but Burwell answered with back-to-back triples for the Tigers. A Benimon conventional 3-point play with 6:45 remaining in the opening half pushed the Towson lead to 27-16.
The Tiger advantage reached as many as 12, 30-18, with 6:14 left in the first on another conventional 3-point play. Britt sparked a six-point spurt for the Green and Gold. He made a pair of free throws, and after a cutting reverse lay-up from Prewitt, Britt’s offensive putback on the break closed the gap to 30-24 with 4:19 remaining.
A Prewitt 3-pointer from the left corner cut the margin to five, before Towson pushed its lead back to double-digits. A Parker-Rivera conventional 3-point play with just over a minute remaining, extended the lead to 41-31. Britt’s 3-pointer on the ensuing W&M possession closed the gap to 41-34 at the half.
Benimon registered his national leading 17th double-double with 21 points and 14 rebounds to go along with six assists. Burwell led Towson with a career-high 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting, including a 5-of-7 effort from 3-point range. The Tigers limited the CAA’s leading scorer Marcus Thornton is just six points on 1-of-14 shooting from the floor. Thornton and sophomore Terry Tarpey led W&M with three assists apiece, while Tarpey also added five rebounds.
The Tribe continues its brief two-game homestand on Monday night when it hosts UNCW. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. from Kaplan Arena. The HD video broadcast of the game is available through TribeAthletics TV with a subscription. Fans can also listen in over the Tribe Radio Network with Jay Colley, Bill McDonald 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 head over the Web at TribeAthletics.com as well.