WILLIAMSBURG, Va. - The William and Mary men’s basketball suffered an 89-72 setback to CAA-leading Delaware on Wednesday night at Kaplan Arena. Playing for the fourth time in eight days, the Green and Gold cut a once 24-point deficit to nine midway through the second half, but could not overcome a 51.6 percent shooting night from the Blue Hens. The loss snapped W&M’s two-game winning streak as it fell to 12-8 overall and 4-3 in the CAA, while Delaware won its ninth straight in improving to 15-7 on the year and 7-0 in league action.
Junior guard Marcus Thornton led the Tribe with 19 points to go along with five assists compared to just one turnover. Freshman Daniel Dixon enjoyed a career night, pouring in 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting, including a 4-of-6 effort from 3-point range, while pulling down six rebounds. Senior Julian Boatner added nine points on 3-of-6 from 3-point range, and senior forward Tim Rusthoven led W&M with eight rebounds.
The Tribe got off to the fastest of starts as senior Kyle Gaillard controlled the opening tip and set sophomore Terry Tarpey free for an immediate fast-break dunk, giving W&M the lead less than five seconds into the contest. Delaware though answered by hitting six of its first 10 shots from the floor, opening up a 13-3 lead. Devon Saddler’s jumper at the 15:06 mark pushed the visitor’s lead to double-digits and forced a W&M timeout.
Back-to-back 3-pointers from Davon Usher pushed the Delaware advantage to 23-6 midway through the frame. A mini 6-2 spurt for the Tribe closed the gap to 25-12 on a Dixon baseline driving lay-up at the 8:39 mark. Five Delaware’s next six field goals came from downtown to push the lead to its largest. Cazmon Hayes and Usher drilled back-to-back 3-pointers, the second with 3:45 left in the opening half to push UD’s margin to 42-18.
W&M closed the half on a 15-5 run. Seven straight points, including five from Brandon Britt, cut the gap back to 42-25 with just over two minutes remaining. Dixon drilled a 3-pointer from the left side with 42.2 seconds remaining and added a free throw with less than 10 ticks left to cut the margin to 45-33. A Saddler offensive putback at the horn gave the Blue Hens a 14-point cushion at the break.
Delaware maintained its advantage through the early stages of the second half, and the margin was 59-43 following a tip-in six minutes into the period. The Tribe answered with seven straight points to draw within nine points. Freshman Omar Prewitt and Britt scored on back-to-back fastbreak lay-ups, before Dixon knocked down a triple from the left wing to close the gap to 59-50 with 12:13 remaining.
The UD lead was just nine, 61-52, after a Thornton lay-up when the visitors scored eight straight points to put the game out of reach. A Carl Baptiste offensive putback with 8:39 remaining gave the Blue Hens a 17-point cushion, 69-52, and the Green and Gold could get no closer than 14 points the rest of the way in dropping its first home game since Dec. 4.
W&M finished the contest shooting 41.3 percent (26-of-63) from the floor, including an 11-of-30 effort from 3-point range (36.7 percent). The Tribe dished out 15 assists on its 26 made field goals compared to just eight turnovers. W&M also blocked seven shots on the night, including two apiece from Thornton and Rusthoven.
Delaware shot 51.6 percent from the floor (32-of-62), including 10-of-22 from long range (45.5 percent). The Blue Hens also held an advantage at the free throw line, hitting on 15-of-20, and on the glass, outrebounding the Tribe, 42-30. Usher led UD in scoring with 28 points on 9-of-15 from the floor, including a 6-of-9 effort from 3-point range. Baptiste added 23 points in the paint, while Saddler turned in a 19-point, six-rebound, seven-assist stat line. Kyle Anderson netted a double-double for the visitors with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
The Tribe returns to action when it opens a three-game road trip with a national TV game at James Madison on Sunday, Feb. 2. Tip-off is slated for 2:30 p.m. from Harrisonburg and the game will be televised on the NBC Sports Network with Mike Corey and Ron Thompson on the call. 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 feed can be heard over the Web at TribeAthletics.com.