Sophomore guard Marcus Thornton netted 13 points with eight coming in the second half. Junior forward Tim Rusthoven finished the evening with 13 points and seven rebounds, while classmate Kyle Gaillard poured in 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the floor. Freshman guard Terry Tarpey ripped down 12 rebounds, the most by any Tribe player this season and the top for a W&M rookie since 2004, to go with a team-high four assists compared to zero turnovers in 27 minutes.
The teams traded buckets early in the contest as the Tribe jumped out to an 11-10 lead at the 14:32 mark of the opening half. Gaillard scored three of W&M's first five buckets during the stretch, which was highlighted by an alley-oop dunk, courtesy of senior Matt Rum, at the 18:24 juncture. A Thornton 3-pointer with 13:05 remaining pushed the lead to 14-10, but despite connecting on seven of its first eight attempts from the floor, the Tribe owned a slim advantage, 16-12, at the 11:48 mark.
After the Bison tied the contest at 16-all following a jumper by senior Mike Phillips with 10:58 showing on the clock, the Tribe countered with a quick 8-0 run. Rusthoven ignited the spurt with a lay up, after Tarpey saved a ball that seemed destined for out of bounds. On the College's next possession, Gaillard pushed the margin to five, 21-16, with a trifecta from the top of the arc. With 9:13 left in the stanza, Britt's conventional three-point play capped the spurt and gave the Green and Gold a 24-16 advantage.
The first half ended with the College controlling a 38-30 lead. After being fouled on an attempt from 3-point range, senior guard Matt Rum proceeded to knock down three consecutive free throws as the College led, 33-26, with 3:30 remaining. W&M's last five points of the stanza came courtesy of Britt. The Chesapeake, Va., native netted a pair of free throws before draining a 3-pointer, which gave the College its largest lead of the half, 38-28, with 1:53 left to play.
Second-half action got underway with an explosive play from Britt. With the shot clock winding down, Britt drove down the right side of the lane, drew the contact and laid it in off the glass. He proceeded to connect from the charity stripe as the Tribe led, 41-32, just a minute into the second frame.
At the 15:53 mark, Howard trimmed the deficit to 44-41 after fifth-year senior Calvin Thompson connected on a traditional three-point play. Rusthoven pushed the margin to 54-45 after a layup at the 11:51 mark. The Tribe and Bison exchanged baskets, before Britt's third hoop and the harm of the evening pushed the margin to nine, 59-50, midway through the second half. On its next possession, after a defensive stop, Rusthoven's put-back gave W&M its first double-digit lead of the half, 61-50, with 8:22 left to go.
The Tribe took its biggest lead of the night, 67-54, after Thornton went coast-to-coast for a fast-break lay-up with 4:22 remaining. The night's exclamation point came when Thornton beat Howard's full-court press and found Tarpey with an alley-oop throw down, which put W&M ahead, 73-61, with 2:37 left in regulation. The Green and Gold hit 5-of-6 from the free throw line over the final minute of the contest in pulling out the nine-point victory.
The Tribe finished the contest shooting 47.9 percent (23-of-48) from the floor, including a 63.6 percent (14-22) effort in the first half. W&M was excellent from the free throw line, connecting on 90.3 percent (28-of-31). Both squads netted 32 points in the paint, but the Tribe held the edge in fast break buckets (14-9) and bench points (7-4).
Thompson led Howard with 24 points on 11-of-26 shooting from the field. Phillips finished the contest with 20 points, while sophomore Prince Okoroh chipped in with 11 and eight rebounds. The Bison finished the night shooting 40.3 percent (29-of-72) from the field, but was just 3-of-14 (21.4 percent) from 3-point territory.
The College returns to action on Saturday, Dec. 8, when it travels to Radford. Tip-off from the Dedmon Center is slated for 2 p.m. Tribe fans can follow the action on the Tribe Radio Network with Jay Colley 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 video broadcast will be available via the Big South Network at BigSouthSports.com for $4.95.