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Tribe Furious Rally Falls Short Against Liberty
Updated: Wednesday 11/14/2011 (ET)
by TribeAthletics.com
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Williamsburg, Va. - A furious Green and Gold comeback fell short as the William and Mary men's basketball team dropped its home opener to Liberty, 75-72, on Monday night at Kaplan Arena. The College trailed by as many as 15 points in the second half, but rallied to close to 73-72 with four seconds remaining, before Tom Schalk's game-tying 3-point attempt at the buzzer was long. The Tribe fell to 0-3 on the young season, while the Flames won their second straight to up their mark to 2-1.

Freshman guard Marcus Thornton led the Tribe with 19 points on 7-of-12 from the floor and 3-of-5 from 3-point range, while adding a team-best four assists. Junior Matt Rum added 14 points off the bench and became just the third W&M player in school history to go a perfect 4-of-4 from 3-point range, while senior Quinn McDowell finished with 10 points on 8-of-9 from the foul line and six rebounds.



W&M trailed 70-57 with 3:18 remaining, before Thornton took control for the Tribe. The Upper Marlboro, Md., native knocked down a 3-pointers from the right wing and drew the foul, adding the free throw for the unconventional 4-point play to pull W&M within four. After Liberty's Jesse Sanders went 1-of-2 from the free throw line, it was again Thornton with triple this time from the top of the key, to cut the deficit to seven with 2:27 left.

After a defensive stop, freshman Tom Schalk scored on an offensive putback to close the gap to 71-66. Another Marcus Thornton drive to the hoop sliced the gap to just three with 1:14 remaining in the contest. The Flames lead was again at four after a free throw with 35 seconds remaining, before Schalk scored on a nice driving lay-up from the top of the key to pull narrow the margin to just two, 72-70, with 19.1 seconds remaining.

Liberty's David Minaya made 1-of-2 from the free throw line to push the lead back to three points, before Thornton found Schalk for a wide-open lay-up on the break to close the gap to 73-72 with 4.1 seconds remaining. Minaya was again fouled for the Flames and hit both freebies, before Schalk's desperation 3-pointer from 28-feet as the horn sounded was long. In total, W&M closed the game on a 15-5 run with all 15 points coming from W&M freshmen. Thornton had nine points on the spurt, while Schalk added six.

For the game, Schalk turned in an impressive stat line, finishing with eight points and seven rebounds in just 10 minutes of action.  Junior forward Andrew Pavloff added six points and two blocked shots off the bench as the Tribe reserves scored 47 of the team's 72 points on the evening.

Senior guard Kendrix Brown knocked down a 3-pointer to give the Tribe the early 3-0 lead just under two minutes into the contest. The Tribe led 7-4 after a bucket from Thornton, before the Flames used a 16-4 run to open up it largest lead of the first half.  Liberty hit 7-of-10 from the floor during the stretch capped by back-to-back jumpers from sophomore John Caleb Sanders. His 3-pointer from the right wing gave the Flames a 20-11 advantage with 8:50 remaining in the first half and forced a W&M timeout.


Trailing 26-19, W&M scored eight straight points, including back-to-back 3-pointers to take the lead. After Pavloff went a perfect 2-of-2 from the free throw line, sophomore guard Julian Boatner pulled W&M within two on a 3-pointer from the right wing. Rum added the second trifecta of the stretch after a steal to give the College a 27-26 lead with 2:47 left and forced a Liberty timeout.

The Flames took the momentum to the locker room though, scoring nine of the half's final 10 points.  Jesse Sanders canned a 3-pointers with 13 seconds remaining before the intermission that sent Liberty to a 35-28 advantage at the break.

W&M closed to 37-31 on Kendrix Brown's second 3-pointer of the game just over two minutes into the second half, but the Flames answered with another run. Minaya scored five straight points for Liberty, before a John Caleb Sanders 3-pointer pushed the margin to 45-31 at the 16:13 mark. The lead ballooned to as many as 15 points, including on a Jesse Sanders jumper with 5:31 remaining in the game prior to W&M's final push.

The Tribe finished the game shooting 46.3 percent (25-of-54) from the floor and 47.6 percent (10-of-21) from 3-point range, while adding 12-of-16 from the free throw line. Liberty hit on 49.2 percent (29-of-59) from the floor and outrebounded W&M, 35-29. The Flames outscored the Tribe in two keys areas off turnovers (22-10) and in second chance points (22-9).

W&M will return to action when it travels to Lynchburg, Va., for three games as part of the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer Subregional. The Tribe will open play against Lehigh on Friday, Nov. 18, before facing Eastern Kentucky on Saturday, Nov. 19. Both games are slated for 4:30 p.m. tip-offs. The final game of the subregional will pit the Tribe against Liberty for the second time in seven days at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 20. All three games will be broadcast over the Tribe Radio Network. The Tide 92.3 FM in Williamsburg is the flagship station of the Tribe Radio Network and each game will also be available over the Web at TribeAthletics.com.










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