SPARTANBURG, S.C. - The William and Mary men’s basketball team gutted out a 63-60 road victory at Wofford on Saturday afternoon. Senior guard Julian Boatner gave the Tribe the lead for good with 1:25 remaining on a nifty driving layup, and sophomore Terry Tarpey was strong defensively in the closing seconds before pulling down the defensive rebound to ice the Tribe’s third road win of the season. W&M upped its season ledger to 5-4, while Wofford fell to 3-5.
Senior forward Tim Rusthoven led the Tribe with 17 points on 6-of-7 from the floor and 5-of-7 from the free throw line to go with a team-high seven rebounds. Junior guard Marcus Thornton scored in double figures for the 41st straight time with 15 points, including a 3-of-6 effort from 3-point range. Freshman Omar Perwitt added nine points off the bench, while senior Kyle Gaillard chipped in eight points and six rebounds.
The second half featured six ties and four lead changes with neither team leading by more than five points. W&M took its largest lead of the second 20 minutes at 57-52 with 3:05 left following a Terry Tarpey tip-in. The Terriers though answered with five straight points, including a 3-pointer from the left side by Spencer Collins to tie the game with 1:38 remaining.
Following a Wofford timeout, Boatner weaved his way through the lane with a driving layup to put the Tribe back on top, 59-57, with 1:25 remaining. Free throws from Gaillard and Boatner pushed the lead to four with under a minute remaining, but a 3-point play from Indiana Faithful drew the Terriers within one, 61-60, with 31.6 seconds remaining.
Wofford forced a W&M turnover and had a chance to go in front with 25 seconds left. Tarpey steped up defensively though and forced a tough fade-away 10-footer from Jaylen Allen with six seconds remaining. The Tribe sophomore pulled down the defensive rebound, his sixth of the game, and Gaillard was fouled with 1.6 seconds left. He stepped to the foul line and knocked down both freebies, putting the Tribe ahead 63-60. Wofford could not get off a last-second heave from halfcourt as Karl Cochran was whistled out of bounds and the Tribe celebrated its fifth victory of the year.
W&M shot 56.1 percent (23-of-41) from the floor, while holding Wofford to 38.2 percent (21-of-55) shooting and 30.8 percent (4-of-13) from 3-point range. The Tribe was 13-of-22 from the free throw line compared to 14-of-18 for Wofford. The Terriers held a 35-26 advantage on the glass, but W&M held a 34-26 advantage in points in the paint.
The Green and Gold opened up as much as a nine-point first-half lead. Leading 9-7, the Tribe put together an 8-1 run to increase the margin to nine. Prewitt scored six points on the run, including a cutting lay-up off a dish from Rusthoven with 8:41 remaining to give W&M a 17-8 lead.
After a Sean Sheldon lay-up off a Boatner pass at the seven-minute mark, Wofford went on an 11-2 run to tie the contest. The Terriers knocked down 5-of-6 from the charity stripe during the stretch, including a pair from Indiana Faithful to draw even at 21 with 2:37 left in the opening half.
A Thornton triple on the ensuing Tribe possession put the Green and Gold back in front, and a Rusthoven conventional 3-point play at the 1:51 mark extended the lead to four, 27-23. Wofford scored the final four points of the half and a Karl Cochran lay-up with just over a minute remaining sent the game to the intermission tied at 27.
A Spencer Collins 3-pointer out of the break gave Wofford its largest lead, 30-27, but Thornton answered right back with a triple of his own for the Green and Gold. The W&M lead went back to four points, 40-36, on a Kyle Gaillard 3-pointer from the right side at the 14:55 mark.
The Terriers scored seven straight points to flip the lead back in their favor. After a pair of Collins’ free throws, Cochran put Wofford back in front, 41-40, with a 3-pointer from the corner. An Allen jumper capped the spurt, giving the home team a 43-40 cushion with 12:30 remaining.
W&M pulled back even at 45 on a conventional 3-point play from Prewitt with 10:47 left. Back-to-back Thornton buckets put the Tribe in front once again, before Boatner found a cutting Sheldon for a lay-up giving W&M a 51-48 advantage with 6:42 remaining.
Wofford closed to within one on a Lee Skinner bucket at the 5:18 mark, before the Tribe scored four straight points from Rusthoven and Tarpey to take its five-point lead, 57-52, with 3:05 left.
Boatner finished with five points to go with three assists compared to one turnover and three steals in 36 minutes for the Tribe. Sheldon added six points on a perfect 3-of-3 from the floor to go with two rebounds off the bench. Collins led Wofford with 15 points but was just 4-of-16 from the floor, while Allen added 13 points. Cochran chipped in 11 points and nine rebounds off the bench for the Terriers, and Skinner just missed a double-double with nine points and 11 rebounds.
The Tribe will have nearly two week off for the final exam break at W&M. The Green and Gold return to action with its last game before the Christmas holiday on Friday, Dec. 20, when it welcomes Goucher College to Williamsburg. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. from Kaplan Arena.
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