Rusthoven, sophomore Marcus Thornton and junior Brandon Britt led the Green and Gold with 17 points apiece. Britt was 6-of-12 from the field and 3-of-4 from 3-point range, while Thornton added three assists. Junior Julian Boatner scored a season-high 11 points on a perfect 4-of-4 from the floor, including 3-of-3 from 3-point range. Rum finished with seven points, a team-high eight rebounds, three assists and two steals in the victory.
W&M broke open a back-and-forth game with a 10-point run toward the latter part of the first half. After a Freddie Jackson 3-pointer tied the game at 24, Thornton broke the press for the Tribe, going the length of the court for a fast-break lay-up to ignite the spurt. Rusthoven scored five straight points, including a conventional 3-point play, before Thornton pushed the margin to double-digits at 34-24 with a conventional 3-point play of his own at the 4:53 mark.
UNCW responded by scoring 15 straight points to close the half. The Seahawks hit all six of its shots over the final 4:11 of the first half. Jackson scored seven straight points for the Seahawks, before a Cedrick Williams lay-up off a pass from Jackson gave the home side a 35-34 lead with 1:40 left in the opening 20 minutes. A pair of Keith Rendlemen free throws and a jumper from Craig Ponder just before the halftime horn sent the Seahawks to the locker room with a 39-34 advantage. UNCW shot 62.5 percent (15-of-24) in the first half to outdistance the Tribe, who shot 50 percent (13-of-26) from the floor.
Another 10-0 Tribe run over the opening minutes of the second half put the visitors from Williamsburg back in front. Rusthoven start it with a lay-up, before Rum found Britt for a 3-pointer from the left corner to tie the contest at 42. Thornton scored a lay-up in transition and found Rum for a 3-pointer from the right corner to give the Tribe a 47-42 lead with 15:35 remaining and force a UNCW timeout.
The Seahawks answered by scoring 11 of the game's next 14 points to retake the lead. Back-to-back fast-break, alley-oop dunks from Rendleman and Jackson gave UNCW a 48-47 lead. Boatner knocked down a triple for the Tribe as W&M momentarily regained the lead. A Rendleman lay-up tied the contest at 50, before a Chris Dixon bucket gave the Seahawks a two-point advantage. A Rendleman free throw at the 9:34 mark extended the UNCW lead to 53-50.
After a Thornton jumper pulled the Tribe back within a point, Rum made a steal at midcourt and broke free for a fast-break lay-up, putting the Green and Gold on top, 54-53 with 7:44 remaining. The teams traded baskets for nealry three minutes until W&M scored eight straight points in taking a six-point advantage. After Milson drilled a 3-pointer for UNCW, Britt answered with a triple of his own from the right corner. His trey put W&M back on top 61-60 with 5:05 left. A nifty pass from Thornton led to a Rusthoven lay-up, extending the lead to three, before Boatner canned his third 3-pointer of the game. The long range jumper at the 3:26 mark gave W&M a 66-60 advantage.
UNCW drew within a single possession at 66-64 on a Rendleman lay-up and had possession with a minute and a half to go. Dixon drove the left side of the lane, but his lay-up attempt was blocked off the glass by junior Kyle Gaillard, setting W&M free on the fastbreak. Britt cashed it in, picking up the loose ball and finishing in transition to put the Tribe up, 68-64, with 1:28 remaining.
It looked as though W&M had put the game on ice as Thornton and Britt each knocked down free throws to give W&M a 72-66 lead with just 16 seconds remaining. UNCW rallied as Rendleman hit just his sixth 3-pointer of the season from the wing to draw the Seahawks within three. After Thornton, an 83 percent free throw shooter, missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with less than 10 seconds remaining, Milson tied it at 72, hitting a contested 3-pointer, falling out of bounds from the corner with 1.9 seconds left.
For the fifth time in the last seven games, W&M shot better than 50 percent from the floor, hitting at a 51.9 percent (27-of-52) clip. The Tribe was 7-of-15 (46.7 percent) from 3-point range, including a 6-of-8 effort in the second half, while also shooting 80 percent (12-of-15) from the free throw line. The Green and Gold held a slim 28-27 advantage on the glass and dished out 14 assists to go along with eight steals.
UNCW shot 53.8 percent (28-of-52) from the field, including a 7-of-15 percent (46.7 percent) from 3-point range. The Seahawks dished out 17 assists but hit on just 56.3 percent (9-of-16) from the free throw line. On his senior night, Rendleman finished with an impressive double-double of 24 points and 11 rebounds to go with four blocked shots and three steals. He was 9-of-13 from the floor and 5-of-6 from the free throw line. Jackson added 16 points, six assists and six rebounds, while Dison chipped in 14 points and five assists.
The Tribe closes out the regular season on Saturday night, March 2, against James Madison. W&M will honor its senior class of manager , guard Brett Goodloe, guard Doug Howard, forward Andrew Pavloff and guard Matt Rum prior to the 6 p.m. tip-off with the Dukes. The contest will be televised on Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic and New England. Tribe fans can 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 be heard over the Internet at TribeAthletics.com.
W&M Athletics is offering fans the Virginia 529 Ticket Package, presented by Virginia 529 College Saving Plan, for the James Madison contest on Saturday. Fans can purchase two mezzanine level tickets for $28 and will receive a voucher for two hot dogs, two soft drinks and two bags of chips. Call the Tribe Ticket Office at (757) 221-3340 for more information.