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Men's Basketball Falls on Heartbreaking Last-Second Basket at Towson
Updated: Wednesday 03/01/2014 (ET)
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TOWSON, Md. - In a match-up between two of the top teams in the Colonial Athletic Association, a bucket by Towson senior Mike Burwell with 1.3 seconds left gave the Tigers a narrow 70-68 win over the William and Mary men’s basketball game on Saturday evening at SECU Arena. W&M trailed by six points with two minutes remaining, but pulled even on a pair of Omar Prewitt free throws with 21.5 seconds left before the game-winner. W&M wrapped up the regular season at 18-11 overall and 10-6 in CAA play, while Towson improved to 22-9 on the year and 13-3 in league action.

Senior forward Tim Rusthoven led the charge for the Green and Gold with 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting from the field and a game-high five assists. Prewitt just missed his first career double-double with 17 points and nine rebounds. Junior guard Marcus Thornton chipped in 13 points, while sophomore Terry Tarpey added eight points and six rebounds.

With Towson leading 67-61 and 2:05 left, senior Brandon Britt closed the gap to three on a 3-pointer from the top of the key, before making a steal on the defensive end. On the ensuing Tribe possession, Rusthoven dished to Thornton for a lay-up, cutting the deficit to one. After Parker-Rivera made 1-of-2 from the free throw line, Prewitt was fouled on a driving attempt with 21.5 seconds remaining and calmly stepped to the line, before knocking down both to tie the game at 68.

Towson held the ball until the final seconds. Marcus Damas found a cutting Burwell, who hit a tough leaner in the lane for what proved to be the game-winner. Following a timeout, W&M threw a length of the court pass. Rusthoven got on the end of it, but the ball was initial knocked away, and as he shoveled the ball to Britt, the horn sounded ending the contest.

The Tribe finished the game shooting just 39.7 percent (23-of-58) from the field and was only 6-of-23 from 3-point range. The Green and Gold connected on 72.7 percent (16-of-22) from the free throw line and dished out 12 assists compared to seven turnovers.

Towson connected on 57.7 percent (15-of-26) in the second half on the way to 45.3 percent (24-of-53) for the game. The Tribe limited TU to 33.3 percent (9-of-27) in the opening half. The Tigers shot 70.8 percent (17-of-24) from the charity stripe and held a 37-35 advantage on the glass.

W&M led by as much as 15 points in the opening half. After Towson scored the opening bucket of the game, the Green and Gold scored nine straight points to take control. A Thornton 3-pointer gave the Tribe the lead, and a Tarpey lay-up off a nice dish from Rusthoven pushed the advantage to 9-2 with 13:17 left in the opening half.

Leading 17-10, the Tribe scored eight straight points to push the lead to its largest at 15. Britt dished to Rusthoven for a lay-up to start the spurt, before Thornton scored a nifty up-and-under lay-up. Prewitt canned a 3-pointer from the right corner at the 6:56 mark to give the visitors a 25-10 advantage.

Towson responded with 12 straight points to close the gap to 25-22 on a Damas lay-up with 4:09 remaining in the half. The W&M lead was 27-24 at the 2:46 mark, before  the Green and Gold scored nine of the half’s final 11 points to take a 10-point advantage to the locker room. Prewitt scored four straight points to end the first 20 minutes as his lay-up over a pair of Towson defenders in the closing seconds provided the Tribe with a 36-26 advantage at the intermission.

The Tigers scored the opening six points of the second half to cut the margin to four points, but W&M answered with five straight. Rusthoven found Tarpey for a lay-up, and Britt fed ahead to Prewitt for a fast-break lay-up at the 15:37 mark. On the play, a flagrant foul was called on Towson’s Marcus Damas for a push in the back of Prewitt on the lay-up, and the Tribe freshman hit 1-of-2 from the charity stripe to give W&M a 43-34 advantage.

After a Rafael Guthrie 3-pointer pulled Towson within a single point, Timajh Parker-Rivera hit 1-of-2 from the free throw line to tie the game at 49 with nine minutes remaining. Rusthoven answered for the Tribe as Gaillard hit the senior forward for a lay-up, but the Tigers scored six straight points to take a four-point advantage. Reigning CAA Player of the Year Jerrelle Benimon scored the first four points of the run, before a Parker-Rivera lay-up at the 7:14 mark gave the home team a 55-51 lead.

Back-to-back Burwell lay-ups reestablished the five-point Towson lead in response to a Prewitt 3-pointer from the left baseline. The Tribe would not go away, though, pulling even at 59 on a pair of Rusthoven free throws with 4:35 remaining. Towson answered with five straight points of its own to regain the margin and the lead jumped to six, 67-61, with 2:05 left, setting the final sequence.

Benimon led four Tigers in double figures with 21 points and 16 rebounds. Guthrie finished with 12 points, while Burwell and Damas each added 10. Parker-Rivera just missed a double-double with nine points and eight rebounds for the home team, and Burwell dished out a team-hig five assists.

The Tribe will be the No. 3 seed in the Colonial Athletic Association Championship next weekend in Baltimore, Md. W&M will play the last quarterfinal on Saturday, March 8, at 8:30 p.m. from the Baltimore Arena. The quarterfinal game will be televised on Comcast SportsNet. Stay tuned to for more championship information.

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