NEWARK, Del. - The William and Mary men’s basketball teams placed five players in double figures, but could not hold off Delaware in a 76-71 setback on Wednesday night at the Bob Carpenter Center. The Green and Gold shot 61.5 percent in the first half and led 38-32 at the intermission, but the Blue Hens rallied behind 54 percent shooting in the second half to pull out their fifth straight victory. The Tribe saw its three-game win streak come to a close as it fell to 9-6 overall and 1-1 in CAA play, while Delaware improved to 11-7 and 3-0 in the league.
Senior forward Tim Rusthoven led the Tribe with 13 points on 6-of-12 shooting from the floor to go with seven rebounds and three assists. The Winfield, Ill., native surpassed the 1,000-point mark for his career on a lay-up with 8:02 left in the first half to become the 36th player in school history to accomplish the feat. Senior Brandon Britt turned in his second straight double-digit performance with 12 points to go with three assists off the bench. Sophomore Terry Tarpey registered his first career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds while adding a team-best four assists on the night.
After a back-and-forth start to the game, Delaware led 11-10 following a Davon Usher 3-pointer at the 15:47 mark. The Tribe responded with a 10-2 run to seize control of the first half. A Britt steal led to a fastbreak feed to freshman Omar Prewitt for a lay-up, giving the Green and Gold a 20-13 advantage with 11:37 left.
The Tribe lead was 23-18 following a Devon Saddler 3-pointer at the 9:13 mark. W&M ripped off seven-straight points to push the margin to double digits for the first time. Britt and Rusthoven scored on back-to-back lay-ups, before Prewitt knocked down a triple from the right wing, forcing a UD timeout and putting the Tribe on top, 30-18, with 7:22 remaining in the opening half.
The Green and Gold advantage reached as many as 13, 34-21, after a Rusthoven bucket at the 3:27 mark. The home side answered with an 11-2 run. Usher sparked the surge with a pair of 3-pointers, including the second on the break to cut the Tribe lead to 36-32 with 35 seconds remaining. W&M held for the last shot, and Britt drove the right side of the baseline for a lay-up, sending the Green and Gold to the locker room with a 38-32 advantage.
Delaware scored the opening four points of the second half to close the Tribe cushion to a single possession. The Green and Gold pushed the lead back to five, 41-36, on a Prewitt lay-up with 15:55 left, but the Blue Hens answered with seven straight points to take its first lead since the opening five minutes of the game. A pair of Threatt free throws tied the game at 41, before his steal led to a fast-break dunk for Saddler to put the Blue Hens up at the 14:30 mark.
Thornton answered with a triple to give W&M the lead once again, but the lead bounced back and forth over the next five minutes with each team answering the other. A Boatner 3-pointer from the left side gave W&M a 54-53 with 9:49 remaining, but Delaware scored six straight to regain the lead. Usher answered Boatner’s triple with one of his own, and a Marvin King-Davis conventional 3-point play gave UD a 59-54 advantage at the eight-minute mark.
The Delaware lead ballooned to its largest at 64-57 with 4:44 left on a Saddler 3-pointer from the left corner. W&M clawed back to within three in the closing seconds, but could not get any closer in falling, 76-71.
Both W&M and Delaware finished the night shooting an identical 45.6 percent (26-of-57) from the field and each team also connected on nine 3-pointers. Delaware held a five-point advantage at the free throw line, hitting on 15-of-24 (62.5 percent) compared to just 10-of-17 (58.8 percent) for the Tribe. W&M outrebounded Delaware, 38-35, and dished out 16 assists on its 26 made field goals.
Junior guard Marcus Thornton and Prewitt each scored 10 points for the Tribe. Prewitt also added six rebounds and three assists. Senior guard Julian Boatner continued his 3-point sharp-shooting as he scored nine points on 3-of-6 from long range. Saddler led all scorers with 26 points, while Usher finished with 21 points for the Blue Hens. Threat added 15 points, six assists and six rebounds for Delaware.
The Tribe returns to action when it hosts rival James Madison on Saturday, Jan. 18. Tip-off is slated for 4 p.m. from Kaplan Arena and the game will be televised on Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic, Philadelphia and New England as well as Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast and SportsNet New York (on tape delay).
W&M fans can listen in over the Tribe Radio Network with Jay Colley, Bill McDonald and Charlie Woollum on the call. The Tide 92.3 FM and 107.9 Bach FM are the flagship stations of the Tribe Radio Network and the audio stream can be heard over the Web at TribeAthletics.com.