WILLIAMSBURG, Va. - Junior Marcus Thornton became the 35th player in William and Mary men’s basketball history to reach the 1,000 career point milestone, but the Tribe suffered an 80-69 loss to High Point on Wednesday night. W&M placed three players in double figures and knocked down 10 3-pointers, but could not overcome a healthy rebounding advantage and 51.6 percent shooting from the visiting Panthers. The Green and Gold fell to 1-3 on the year, while HPU improved to 2-2.
Thornton scored 18 points on the evening to hit the 1,000-point mark on the nose, becoming the ninth player under head coach Tony Shaver to accomplish the feat. Senior forward Tim Rusthoven led the Tribe with 20 points on 9-of-15 from the floor to go along with five rebounds, while freshman Omar Prewitt just missed a double-double with 12 points and eight rebounds. Prewitt was 3-of-6 from 3-point range, and fellow classmate Daniel Dixon added a career-high eight points, including a pair of treys.
Rusthoven scored the opening bucket of the second-half to cut High Point’s halftime advantage to 43-31. The Panthers though answered with seven straight points, including a 3-pointer from the left wing by Devante Wallace, to push its lead to 19, 50-31, less than three minutes into the second frame.
The W&M deficit reached as many as 20 points with 14:50 remaining, before the Tribe put together a run, closing the gap to 11. Thornton and Prewitt bookended 3-pointers around Rusthoven buckets in the paint as part of a 10-2 spurt. Prewitt’s triple from the right corner at the 9:53 mark cut the deficit to 59-48.
High Point had the answer with eight straight points to restore its 19-point advantage. Two straight 3-pointers from Wallace, including the second at the 8:05 mark, gave the Panthers a 67-48 lead.
W&M would not go quietly though as five straight points narrowed the margin to 14 points. Senior guard Julian Boatner knocked down a pair of free throws, before Prewitt’s third 3-pointer of the contest closed the gap to 67-53 with 7:20 remaining.
A fast-break bucket from Rusthoven off a Prewitt pass made it an 11-point game with just over five minutes remaining. The Green and Gold closed to within 78-69 on a two-handed fast-break dunk from Dixon off a Terry Tarpey steal, but it wasn’t enough to erase the High Point advantage.
W&M finished the game shooting 40.7 percent (24-of-59) from the floor, including 10 3-pointers. The Green and Gold also dished out 16 assists on its 24 made field goals. High Point shot 51.6 percent (32-of-62) from the floor and held a 42-31 advantage on the glass.
HPU scored six straight points to open up a 6-1 lead just over three minutes into the contest. Boatner answered with triple before Thornton found Rusthoven for layup to make it 8-6, five minutes into the tilt.
The Panthers used a 9-0 run to push its lead to double digits for the first time. Wallace scored five points on the run, before back-to-back buckets from Allan Chaney extend High Point’s cushion to 25-11 at the 9:22 mark.
Seven straight Tribe points closed the gap back to single digits. Senior Kyle Gaillard scored five straight on the run as he knocked down a 3-pointer from the left corner, before driving to the bucket at the five-minute mark to cut the deficit to 31-23.
The Panther lead remained eight, before High Point ripped off nine straight points to take its largest lead of the opening half. Chaney scored seven of HPU’s nine points on the run, and his jumper with 28 seconds left pushed the advantage to 43-26. A Thornton 3-pointer from the right wing as time expired provided the halftime margin of 43-29.
Chaney led the Panthers in scoring with 19 points on 9-of-14 from the floor, while adding five steals. John Brown registered an 18-point, 12-rebound double-double, and Wallace added 17 points in the victory.
The Tribe returns to action when it hits the road to face American Athletic Conference foe Rutgers on Saturday afternoon. Tip-off is slated for 2 p.m. from the Rutgers Athletics Center, and the game will be broadcast on ESPN3. Tribe fans can also listen in over the Tribe Radio Network with Bill McDonald on the call. The flagship stations of the Tribe Radio Network are The Tide 92.3 FM and 107.9 Bach FM. The audio stream can also be heard over TribeAthletics.com.