HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. – Following a difficult day of travel to New York, the William and Mary men’s basketball team’s late comeback attempt fell short in a 77-60 setback at Hofstra on Wednesday night. Hofstra used a 17-0 run in the second half to open up as much as a 23-point lead and despite a late W&M rally that cut the deficit to 10 points with 2:37 remaining, held on for the victory. W&M, which spend 13 and a half hours traveling from Williamsburg to Hempstead through an airport stay and lengthy bus ride, fell to 10-7 on the year and 2-2 in league play, while Hofstra improved to 7-12 overall and 3-1 in CAA action.
Junior guard Marcus Thornton led the Tribe with 17 points and five assists. Senior forward Tim Rusthoven added 13 points on 6-of-12 from the field and a team-high eight rebounds, while fellow classmate Julian Boatner tallied nine points on 3-of-7 shooting from 3-point range to go with three assists. Sophomore Terry Tarpey chipped in seven points and pulled down five rebounds in the setback.
Trailing by one at the break, W&M found Rusthoven for the opening bucket of the second half to take back the lead. The Hofstra advantage went back to as much as five points, but was just three, 42-39, following another Rusthoven lay-up less than three minutes into the second half.
Hofstra led 45-39 when the Tribe missed a pair of pointblank shots on back-to-back possessions at the 14:19 and 14:11 marks that would have narrowed the gap. Instead, the Pride knocked down four straight 3-pointers all off Nesmith assists to push its lead to 20 points. All four triples came were part of a 17-0 Hofstra run. The final 3-pointer of the sequence came from the right corner by Chris Jenkins, giving the Pride a 59-39 lead with 11:16 remaining.
The Pride extended its cushion to as much as 23, 64-41, on a Zeke Upshaw jumper at the 7:37 mark. Over the next five minutes, the Tribe went on a 16-3 run to draw within 10. Thornton scored nine points during the run and dished out an assist to Boatner for a 3-pointer. The Upper Marlboro, Md., native’s jumper at the 2:37 mark cut the deficit to 67-57. He had a chance to draw W&M closer, but his jumper was off the mark with just under two minutes remaining and Hofstra hit its final 10 free throws over the closing 1:38 to pick up the victory.
W&M shot just 38.3 percent (23-of-60) from the field and was only 8-of-25 (32 percent) from 3-point range. The Green and Gold did dish out 17 assists on 23 made field goals. Hofstra finished the night, hitting at a 47.1 percent (24-of-51) from the field. The Pride drilled 10-of-20 (50 percent) from 3-point range, while connecting on 76 percent (19-of-25) from the charity stripe. HU also held a 41-31 advantage on the glass.
The teams traded baskets in the early going, before the Tribe took its largest lead of the opening half. A Sean Sheldon lay-up off a nice dish from freshman Omar Prewitt followed a Thornton 3-pointer as the Tribe opened up a 13-9 lead with 12:35 remaining.
Back-to-back 3-pointers from Nesmith and Jenkins gave Hofstra its largest lead of the first half at 24-18 with 8:16 remaining. The lead remained six, 31-25, just over four minutes later, before Thornton and Boatner canned 3-pointers to tie the game at 31.
Nesmith’s second 3-pointer of the opening 20 minutes put the Pride back on top by three with 1:08 remaining. W&M closed to within a single point, 34-33, at the break on a Kyle Gaillard dunk in the final minute. The Pride shot 50 percent from the field (13-of-26) in taking the lead at the intermission.
Upshaw led three Pride players in double figures with a game-high 21 points. Nesmith added 15 points and 10 assists, while Stephen Nwaukoni registered a double-double as well with 13 points and 14 rebounds.
The Tribe continues its two-game road trip as it travels to Drexel on Saturday, Jan. 25. Tip-off is scheduled for 4 p.m. from the DAC in Philadelphia. Fans can listen in over the Tribe Radio Network with Jay Colley and former W&M player John Leone 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. The live video stream is available for free at DrexelDragons.com.