HAMPTON, Va. - The William and Mary men’s basketball team suffered a 77-69 setback in its season opener at Hampton on Friday night. The Tribe cut a 17-point first-half deficit to as little as three points, but could got overcome the host Pirates’ quick starts in both the first and second halves.
Junior guard Marcus Thornton led all scorers with 21 points to go with a career-high six assists. Freshman wing Omar Prewitt enjoyed a nice start to his collegiate career with 15 points and a team-high seven rebounds. Sophomore Terry Tarpey added 11 points on a perfect 4-of-4 from the field, while sharing team-high honors with seven rebounds. Fellow classmate Sean Sheldon enjoyed the best game of his Green and Gold career with seven points and seven rebounds off the bench.
Hampton raced out of the gates, hitting eight of its first nine shots from the floor to open up a 19-3 advantage just over four minutes into the game. Brian Darden knocked down three 3-pointers during the stretch, including one with 15:42 left in the first half to give HU the 16-point cushion and force a W&M timeout.
The Pirate lead reached as many as 17, 24-7, on a 3-pointer from Reggie Price with 11:42 left, before the Tribe started its comeback. Prewitt scored five straight points, including a triple from the corner, to cut the margin to 12. The lead remained there until the six and a half minute mark when the Tribe ripped off an 11-2 run. Thornton scored six of the 11, including a dunk with 1:48 remaining to make it 36-33.
After W&M cut the Hampton lead back to three less than a minute into the second half, the Pirates answered with a 9-2 run to push cushion back to double digits. Du’Vaughn Maxwell’s offensive tip dunk at the 16:43 mark gave the homeside a 10-point cushion, 46-36.
The Pirates extended the lead to as many as 14 in the second half and held a 63-49 advantage with 7:25 remaining, before the Tribe mounted a final rally. Over a near three-minute stretch, the Green and Gold scored eight straight points to close to within six points. Thornton found Tarpey for a dunk in transition, while W&M knocked down 6-of-8 from the charity stripe, including a freebie from Prewitt with 4:43 left to make it, 63-57.
A Thornton 3-pointer at the 3:03 mark cut the deficit to five points at 67-62, but it was as close as the Tribe would get. Hampton forward Emmanuel Okoroba scored six straight points for the home team to put the game out of reach.
The Tribe finished the game shooting 42 percent from the floor (21-of-50) and 72.4 percent from the free throw line (21-of-29), but were just 6-of-20 from 3-point range (30 percent). On the other side, Hampton connected on 51 percent (26-of-51) for the game, including a sizzling 60.9 percent in the opening half. The Pirates connected on 6-of-12 from 3-point range (50 percent) and 19-of-28 from the foul line (19-of-28). The Pirates also held a 36-29 advantage on the glass.
Darden led four Hampton players in double figures with 18 points, including a 4-of-5 effort from 3-point range. Okoroba added 17 points and six rebounds, while Maxwell turned in a nice line of 12 points, eight rebounds and five blocked shots.
W&M returns to action when it welcomes Liberty to Williamsburg for the program’s home opener on Tuesday, Nov. 12. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. from Kaplan Arena. For single-game and season ticket information, visit the ticket office page at TribeAthletics.com or call (757) 221-3340.
Fans can listen to the Tribe-Flames broadcast on the Tribe Radio Network with Jay Colley, Bill McDonald and Charlie Woollum on the call. The flagship station of the Tribe Radio Network is the Tide 92.3 FM, and the broadcast can be heard on TribeAthletics.com. Tribe Athletics TV presents all non-televised home games in high definition. For subscription information visit TribeAthletics.com.