WILLIAMSBURG, Va. - On Senior Day, the William and Mary men’s basketball picked up an 81-67 victory over Northeastern with a strong effort on both ends of the court, Saturday afternoon at Kaplan Arena. The Tribe shot 53.6 percent and dished out 20 assists on 30 made field goals, while limiting Northeastern to 43.1 percent from the floor, including a 36-percent clip in the opening 20 minutes. W&M improved to 17-10 overall and 9-5 in CAA play, while Northeastern fell to 9-20 on the year and 6-9 in league action.
The nine CAA wins are the fourth most in Tribe history, while the Green and Gold’s 17 overall victories on the year rank seventh in program annals. Junior guard Marcus Thornton led all scorers with 25 points on 9-of-14 from the field, including a 5-of-7 effort from 3-point range to go along with four assists. Seniors Tim Rusthoven and Brandon Britt each scored in double figures with 12 and 11 points respectively. Rusthoven added five rebounds and five assists.
Starting an all senior lineup of Julian Boatner, Britt, Fred Heldring, Rusthoven and Ben Whitlatch, the Tribe scored the game’s opening four points, including a 3-pointer from Britt. After Scott Eatherton closed the gap to 4-3 on a conventional 3-point play, Thornton canned back-to-back treys to extend the Green and Gold margin to seven points.
The Huskies closed to within 14-10 on a 3-pointer from Demetrius Pollard, but the Tribe responded with eight straight points to push the lead to double digits. Boatner answered Pollard’s 3-pointer with one of his own off a Sean Sheldon offensive rebound, before freshman Daniel Dixon drove the lane, converted the lay-up and was fouled. He completed the 3-point play and sophomore Terry Tarpey added a driving bucket to push the Tribe lead to 22-10 with 9:48 left in the opening half.
The lead jumped to as many as 13 on a Dixon 3-pointer, but the Huskies closed to within five, 28-23, on five straight points from Zach Stahl. Thornton came right back with five straight for the Green and Gold, including a fast-break 3-pointer from the right corner off a dish from freshman Omar Prewitt. The triple gave the home team a 10-point advantage on the way to a 33-24 cushion at the intermission. W&M turned in a strong first-half effort defensively, holding NU to 36 percent (9-of-25) shooting to go along with eight turnovers, which the Tribe turned into eight points.
After Northeastern’s David Walker scored the opening bucket of the second half, Rusthoven and Tarpey followed with back-to-back offensive putbacks, pushing the lead back to double-digits at 37-26. W&M maintained its double-digit advantage as Sheldon produced a monster blocked shot on the defensive end that led to a bucket on the other. Britt scored on a driving lay-up at the 10:32 mark to give W&M a 53-43 advantage.
Just over a minute later, the Huskies closed to within five points on back-to-back baskets. Reggie Spencer scored in the post, before NU freshman T.J. Williams knocked down a 3-pointer with 9:30 remaining. The five straight points prompted a W&M timeout and narrowed the gap to 53-48.
Out of the timeout, Thornton came up with a pair of big plays for the home team. He drained a 3-pointer from the left wing to beat the shot clock, before driving the center of the lane and dumping a pass to Rusthoven for a lay-up to push the margin back to 10, 58-48, at the eight-minute mark.
Boatner and Prewitt hit 3-pointers wrapped around a Northeastern free throw to extend the lead to 66-53 with 5:20 remaining. The advantage grew to as much as 18 points on a pair of Thornton free throws at the 2:46 mark. The Huskies could get no closer than 11 points the rest of the way, before W&M emerged with an 81-67 Senior Day victory.
W&M finished the game shooting 53.6 percent (30-of-56) from the field, including a 65.5 percent clip (19-of-29) in the second half. It marked the ninth time this season that the Tribe hit for 60 percent or better in a single half. W&M also canned 10-of-23 (43.5 percent) from 3-point range and held a 36-33 advantage on the glass.
Northeastern shot 43.1 percent (25-of-58) from the floor and was 7-of-18 (38.9 percent) from 3-point range. Williams led NU in scoring with 16 points to go along with five assists, while David Walker added 12 and Demetrius Pollard chipped in 10. The Tribe’s post trio of Rusthoven, Heldring and Sheldon did a number on the nation’s leading double-double player, Scott Eatherton. The Huskies leading scorer and one of the country's top rebounders finished with just five points on 2-of-6 shooting and three rebounds, while being saddled with foul trouble.
Prewitt turned in a nice stat line off the bench with nine points, six rebounds and four assists. Tarpey shared team-high rebounding honors with six to go along with six points on 3-of-4 shooting. Boatner added eight points on Senior Day.
The Tribe returns to action with its final regular season home game of the year on Wednesday, Feb. 26, when it welcomes Hofstra to Williamsburg. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. from Kaplan Arena. Fans can watch the live HD video stream with a Tribe Athletics TV subscription. The game will also be broadcast over the radio on 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 can also be heard over the Web at TribeAthletics.com.
Fans are invited out to The Chesapeake Bank Tony Shaver Show, which returns on Monday, Feb. 24, at Paul’s Deli in Williamsburg. The show begins at 6:30 p.m. with the live interview portion running from 7 p.m. through 7:30 p.m. For fans that can’t make it out to the show, they can listen in over the Tribe Radio Network. The Tide 92.3 FM and 107.9 Bach FM are the flagship stations of the Tribe Radio Network and the audio can also be heard on TribeAthletics.com.