WILLIAMSBURG, Va. - The William and Mary men’s basketball team closed out the home portion of its regular season schedule with a 79-74 win over Hofstra on Wednesday night at Kaplan Arena. The Green and Gold placed four players in double figures and shot nearly 54 percent from the floor, while limiting Hofstra to 37.1 percent from the field. W&M improved to 18-10 overall and 10-5 in CAA play, while Hofstra dropped to 8-22 on the year and 4-11 in league action. The 18 wins for the Tribe rank seventh in school history, while it marks the fourth time in W&M’s CAA history that it reached double-digits victories in conference play.
Freshman Omar Prewitt and senior Brandon Britt led the Green and Gold with 16 points apiece. Prewitt connected on 5-of-9 from the field and 4-of-6 from 3-point range in scoring all 16 of his points in the second 20 minutes, while adding six rebounds. Britt was 7-of-13 from the floor to go with three assists. Senior forward Kyle Gaillard chipped in 15 points on a nearly perfect 6-of-7 shooting from the floor and a 3-of-3 effort from distance. Junior guard Marcus Thornton added 13 points, while sophomore Terry Tarpey turned in an impressive stat line with six points and team-highs of 10 rebounds, four assists and two steals.
W&M scored seven of the game’s first nine points led by the senior duo of Gaillard and Britt. After a Gaillard 3-pointer opened the scoring, Britt converted back-to-back lay-ups, putting W&M on top, 7-2, just over three minutes into the contest.
Hofstra pulled even on a Zeke Upshaw 3-pointer at the 15:42 mark, before W&M scored six straight points. Thornton notched the opening four of the stretch, including a pair from the free throw line, before a Britt jumper pushed the Tribe lead to 13-7 at the 13-minute mark of the first half.
After the Pride pulled to within two, 18-16, on a Jamall Robinson jumper, the Tribe extended the advantage to seven. Britt found senior Julian Boatner for a 3-pointer from the left side, before driving the baseline for a bucket of his own, pushing the lead to 23-16 at the 6:36 mark.
Hofstra again narrowed the gap to two, 23-21, just under two minutes later, before W&M pieced together an 8-1 run. A Gaillard offensive putback started the spurt, before a Thornton jumper in the lane followed back-to-back lay-ups from Boatner and Tarpey to expand the cushion to 31-22 with less than two minutes remaining. A Tarpey tip-in just before the first-half horn gave W&M its largest lead of the opening 20 minutes and sent the home side to the locker room with a 35-25 advantage.
Out of the intermission, the visitors slashed the margin to five with the opening five points of the frame. A Moussa Kone offensive putback just over a minute into the second half cut the Tribe lead to 35-30.
On four straight offensive possessions the Tribe knocked down 3-point field goals to extend the advantage to double digits once again. Gaillard hit the final two treys of the stretch with the second, giving the Green and Gold a 53-43 lead with 13:37 to play. On the ensuing Hofstra possession, Prewitt pulled down the defensive rebound and found Thornton for a fast-break lay-up to push the lead to 12 and force a Hofstra timeout.
The Tribe advantage ballooned to as many as 14 points, 60-46, on a Tim Rusthoven bucket at the 10:20 mark, before Hofstra started its comeback. The Pride used an 11-2 run to close the gap to five with 5:46 remaining. After an Upshaw 3-pointer, Dion Nesmith canned back-to-back 3-pointers and Robinson followed with a jumper to cut the deficit to 62-57.
Hofstra clawed to within three points at the three-minute mark, before Prewitt and Upshaw took over for their teams. The duo traded buckets over a near two-minute stretch as Prewitt canned a pair of 3-pointers to match Upshaw’s triples. After the Hofstra graduate student knocked down three straight free throws when he was fouled on a 3-point attempt, Prewitt drove the left side of the lane for a lay-up, giving W&M a 74-69 lead with 1:13 remaining. W&M hit four of its final five from the charity stripe to keep HU at arm’s length on the way to a 79-74 victory.
W&M finished the night shooting 53.8 percent (28-of-52) from the floor, including a 10-of-22 effort from 3-point range (45.5 percent). For the 10th time this season, the Tribe connected on 60 percent or better from the field in a half, shooting 63.6 percent (14-of-22) in the second 20 minutes. The Green and Gold shot 86.7 percent (13-of-15) from the free throw line and dished out 18 assists on its 28 made field goals.
The Tribe limited Hofstra to 37.1 percent (23-of-62) from the field, but the Pride answered with an 11-of-26 performance (42.3) from 3-point range and an 81 percent (17-of-21) night from the free throw line. HU also held a 37-28 advantage on the glass. Upshaw led all scorers with 28 points, including a Hofstra school-record seven 3-pointers. Nesmith and Robinson each finished with 15 points on the evening, while Kone added 10 points and eight rebounds.
W&M closes out the regular season on Saturday, March 1, when it travels to Towson. Tip-off is slated for 4 p.m. from SECU Arena and the game will be televised on Comcast SportsNet. The contest will be carried on Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic, Philadephia and New England as well as Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast and SportsNet New York. Tribe fans can also listen in over the Tribe Radio Network with Jay Colley, Charlie Woollum and Bill McDonald 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 can be heard over the Web at TribeAthletics.com.