PISCATAWAY, N.J. - The William and Mary men’s basketball team scored 20 straight points to start the second half, propelling the Tribe to a 72-62 victory at Rugters on Saturday afternoon. After trailing by nine at the intermission, W&M started the second half strong on both ends, hitting eight of its first 11 shots and holding RU scoreless for nearly seven minutes to flip the script in favor of the Green and Gold. W&M improved to 2-3 on the season, while the Scarlet Knights fell to 3-3.
Junior guard Marcus Thornton led all scorers with 28 points to go along with a career-high six rebounds. He was an impressive 16-of-19 from the free throw line, including a perfect 14-of-14 in the decisive second half. Sophomore Terry Tarpey added 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the floor, while adding five rebounds, two assists and two steals. Senior forward Tim Rusthoven chipped in 10 points and six rebounds.
Thornton canned a 3-pointer on the opening possession of the second half as senior Kyle Gaillard rebounded his own miss and found the junior guard for a triple. Gaillard assisted on W&M's second bucket of the half as well finding Rusthoven for a lay-up, before senior Julian Boatner dished to Tarpey for a fast-break basket. Another Rusthoven bucket off a jump hook at the 17:32 mark pulled the Tribe even at 33 and forced a Rutgers timeout.
The onslaught continued as Tarpey pulled down a defensive rebound and started the break, finding Boatner for a wide-open 3-pointer from the top of the key. The triple gave W&M its first lead, 36-33, since 5-3 less than three and a half minutes into the contest. Tarpey made a steal and threw down a fast-break dunk at the 14:54 mark to extend the Tribe advantage to nine, 42-33. Gaillard scored on an offensive putback, his second bucket of the run, to give the Tribe its first double-digit advantage at 44-33.
A Myles Mack 3-pointer broke the scoreless stretch for Rutgers with 13:04 left, but it did little to quell the Tribe push. An Omar Prewitt 3-pointer followed by a pair of Marcus Thornton free throws after a Rutgers technical foul pushed W&M’s lead to largest at 52-38 with nine and a half minutes remaining.
Rutgers closed back to within single digits, 56-47, on a D’Von Campbell 3-pointer at the 4:12 mark, but it was as close as the Knights would get. Thornton answered with a 3-pointer of his own from the top of the key just under a minute later to push the margin back to double digits. W&M hit 9-of-11 from the free throw line over the final three minutes and maintained the double-digit margin the rest of the way in picking up the 72-62 victory.
The Tribe finished the game shooting 46 percent (23-of-50) from the field, including a 58.3 percent (14-of-24) effort in the second half. The Tribe was also 21-of-32 from the free throw line, including 16-of-21 in the second half. W&M held a 35-32 advantage on the glass, while outscoring the Scarlet Knights in two vital stats: points in the paint (34-16) and fastbreak points (10-5). Defensively, the Tribe limited Rutgers to 40.7 percent (22-of-54) from the floor, including just 35.7 percent (10-of-28) in the second half.
Prewitt added nine points, four rebounds and two blocked shots off the bench, while Gaillard led the Tribe with eight rebounds, four assists and three steals to go along with six points. Boatner knocked down 2-of-4 from 3-point range for the Green and Gold, scoring six points to go with two assists.
W&M jumped out to an early 3-0 lead as Tarpey scored the game’s first three points, before a Thornton jumper just inside the foul line gave W&M a 5-3 lead at the 16:35 mark of the first half. Rutgers used a 14-2 run to gain control in the opening half. Jerome Seagears and Myles Mack each knocked down 3-pointers on the spurt, and a Mack leaner in the lane gave the home team a double-digit advantage, 17-7, midway through the opening half.
Five straight W&M points, including three from Rusthoven, narrowed the gap back to five, 17-12. RU responded with seven unanswered points to take its largest lead of the contest. Kadeem Jack connected on back-to-back jumpers, before a Seagears 3-pointer at the 3:02 mark put the Knights on top by 12, 29-17. W&M cut it back to eight in the closing minute of the first half, but Rutgers took a nine-point cushion, 33-24, to the locker room.
Seagears led Rutgers in scoring with 15 points, including a 4-of-6 performance from 3-point range. Jack just missed a double-double with 14 points, nine rebounds and added four blocked shots, while Mack chipped in 14 as well.
The Tribe returns to action at home when it faces another instate foe in VMI on Wednesday, Nov. 27. Tip-off for the pre-Thanksgiving contest is scheduled for 7 p.m. from Kaplan Arena. Fans can listen in 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. The video broadcast will so be available for purchase in HD on Tribe Athletics TV.