W&M improved to 4-3 on the young season and will sit atop of CAA standings at 1-0 for at least a month. The remainder of the CAA schedule will not get underway until Jan. 2. The Tribe also claimed five points in the Optima Health Challenge, a running score of all the direct competitions between the two schools. W&M moved in front of the Monarchs, 25-20, in the all-sport competition and the other five men's basketball points will be up for grabs when the two teams meet in Norfolk on Feb. 16.
Sophomore guard Marcus Thornton led a trio of Tribe players in double figures scoring a game-high 23 points. The Upper Marlboro, Md., native was 8-of-16 from the floor, including a 5-of-9 effort from 3-point range, to go along with four assists. Juniors Brandon Britt and Tim Rusthoven each finished with 15 points in the victory, while Rusthoven added four assists and a team-high seven rebounds. Freshman Terry Tarpey turned in an impressive showing off the bench with nine points, five rebounds, two assists and two blocked shots.
Thornton scored the opening five points of the game as W&M raced out to the early advantage. The margin was six, 14-8, following a Britt triple at the 14:54 mark of the opening frame. The Monarchs pulled even for the first time after six straight points, including a pair of Aaron Bacote free throws with 12:30 left in the half.
After a Thornton 3-pointer put the College back on top 23-20 at the 4:27 mark, ODU scored five straight points to take its first lead. A Bacote 3-pointer on the break with two and half minutes remaining in the first half gave the Monarchs their first lead at 25-23.
The advantage was short lived though as a Tarpey 3-point play put the Tribe back on top less than 20 seconds later. The game was tied at 29 with 50 seconds left in the half, before Thornton knocked down his third 3-pointer of the opening frame. A Keenan Palmore lay-up for ODU sent the Tribe to the locker room with a 32-31 advantage.
The Monarchs scored the opening five points of the second frame to take its largest lead of the contest at 36-32 on a Dimitri Batten 3-pointer just a over a minute into the period. Britt knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers for the Green and Gold to regain the lead, 38-36, but ODU answered with two straight buckets from DeShawn Painter. The second came off a series of offensive rebounds for the Monarchs and was a jumper from the right baseline, giving ODU a 40-38 lead with 16:08 remaining.
W&M responded with a massive 14-2 run to seize control of the contest. Thornton found Britt for a lay-up to tie it at 40, before it was Rum dishing to Thornton for a fast-break 3-pointer from the top of the key, giving W&M a lead it would not relinquish. Junior forward Fred Heldring had back-to-back dimes, finding Tarpey and Rusthoven for lay-ups to extend the margin to 50-42. Tarpey followed with a baseline jumper at the 8:34 mark, pushing the lead to double digits and forcing an Old Dominion timeout.
The advantage reached as much as 15, 63-48, with 4:52 remaining. Senior guard Matt Rum found Thornton for a back-door cut lay-up, before Heldring blocked a shot on the defensive that that led to a run-out lay-up from Britt. His reverse finishing forced another ODU timeout and brought the Kaplan faithful to their feet. The Tribe lead never dipped below the final margin of nine the rest of the way.
W&M finished the game shooting 50 percent (25-of-50) from the field, including a 9-of-21 effort (42.9 percent) from 3-point range. The Tribe also tallied 21 assists on 25 made field goals led by the five-assist, one-turnover night of Rum. The Green and Gold held its own on the glass, pulling even with the Monarchs at 33 rebounds each. ODU entered the game leading the CAA in rebounds per game at 41.3, while out-rebounding its opponents by a league-best 9.3 per contest.
The Monarchs finished the game shooting 41.4 percent (24-of-58) from the field, but was just 7-of-25 (28 percent) from 3-point range. Freshman Keenan Palmore led ODU in scoring with 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting to go with five assists, while senior Nick Wright added 12 points.
The Tribe-Monarch meeting on Saturday night also marked the Shoeless Showdown sponsored by C&F Bank and Chick-fil-A. Head coach Tony Shaver and his staff roamed the sidelines barefoot to raise awareness for children and adults in the area in need of shoes. Fans that donated a new pair of adult or children shoes, received free admission to the game. All shoes were donated to the Williamsburg Salvation Army, and fans can still donate at any C&F Bank in the Williamsburg area.
W&M continues its brief two-game homestand when it hosts Howard on Thursday, Dec. 6, at 7 p.m. Tribe fans can also follow the action on 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 can also be heard on TribeAthletics.com. The Tribe Athletics TV video stream is also available for purchase at TribeAthletics.com.