BOSTON, Mass. - The William and Mary men’s basketball team turned in a dominant first-half performance on the way to a historic 82-70 victory over Northeastern on Saturday night at Matthews Arena. W&M scored the first eight points of the game and continued to grow the lead to 45-18 at the half. In the 109-year history of Tribe basketball, it marked the program’s first win in the city of Boston, and first at Northeastern in seven tries. The Green and Gold improved to 15-8 on the year, including a 7-3 mark in CAA play, while Northeastern dropped to 8-17 overall and 5-6 in league action.
Junior guard Marcus Thornton led the way for the Tribe with 25 points on 8-of-13 from the floor, including a 3-of-6 effort from 3-point range. He added a team-high five assists and a career-high five steals. Senior forward Tim Rusthoven and freshman Omar Prewitt each chipped in 13 points, while senior guard Brandon Britt added 12. Prewitt became the first W&M player since 2003 to go a perfect 10-of-10 from the free throw line, while Britt was also perfect from the charity stripe at 6-of-6.
The Tribe came out of the locker room on fire, scoring the first eight points of the contest. Rusthoven started and ended the 8-0 run with buckets, including the second less than two minutes into the ball game that forced a Northeastern timeout. W&M wasn’t done there as the Green and Gold hit 12 of its first 14 shots from the floor in quickly taking a 20-point advantage. Thornton and Rusthoven combined for 13 of the Tribe’s first 15 points, and Thornton’s fast-break lay-up at the 14-minutes mark opened up an 11-points advantage, 15-4.
Back-to-back buckets from senior Julian Boatner extended the margin. The Bloomington, Ind., native made a steal on the defensive end and took it the other way for a fast-break lay-up, before Britt found his senior running mate for a 3-pointer from the right side to give W&M a 23-8 lead with 10:59 remaining in the first half.
Thornton found senior Kyle Gaillard for a beautiful alley-oop dunk midway through the half, and added an unconventional 4-point play for good measure. The Upper Marlboro, Md., native canned a triple from the left wing, drew the foul and then converted the free throw at the 6:45 mark to push the margin to 33-9.
The Green and Gold lead in the opening 20 minutes reached as many as 29, 40-11, following a pair of Britt free throws at the 4:15 mark. Behind stout efforts on both ends, the Tribe led 45-18 at the break. W&M shot 60.7 percent (17-of-28) from the field in the first half, its seventh half this season with at least a 60 percent shooting percentage. Defensively, W&M limited Northeastern to 23.1 percent (6-of-26) from the floor, 0-of-10 from 3-point range and forced 10 turnovers in the first 20 minutes.
W&M’s advantage expanded to as many as 33, 60-27, in the second half on another alley-oop dunk from Thornton to Gaillard at the 13:13 mark. The Huskies clawed their way back to as close as 10, but the result was never in doubt as W&M made 15-of-16 from the charity stripe over the final two minutes to pull out its eighth road win of the year. The eight road wins are the third most in W&M history and among the top totals in the country this season. The Green and Gold are currently riding a four-game road winning streak.
The Tribe finished the game shooting 55.3 percent (26-of-47) from the field, including a 7-of-17 effort (41.2 percent) from 3-point range. W&M also canned 23-of-27 from the charity stripe for an 85.2 percent clip, including a 17-of-18 effort (94.4 percent) in the second half. Gaillard finished with eight points and five rebounds on the night, while sophomores Terry Tarpey and Sean Sheldon each pulled down a team-high six rebounds. Boatner added a career-high four steals to go along with five points in the win.
Northeastern shot 41.3 percent (26-of-63) from the floor, but was just 6-of-28 (21.4 percent) from 3-point range and 12-of-20 (60 percent) from the free throw line. Demetrius Pollard led NU with 13 points, while T.J. Williams added 12 points and six assists. Scott Eatherton finished with 11 points and seven rebounds, and Chris Avenant chipped in 10 points in 12 minutes.
The Tribe will have a week off before returning to action at home against Towson on Saturday, Feb. 15, in a game that will be televised on Comcast SportsNet. Tip-off is slated for 4 p.m. from Kaplan Arena. Tribe fans can listen in over the Tribe Radio Network with Jay Colley, Bill McDonald and Charlie Woollum on the call.
The Chesapeake Bank Tony Shaver Show returns on Monday, Feb. 10, at Paul’s Deli in Williamsburg. The show begins at 6:30 p.m. with the live interview portion running from 7 p.m. through 7:30 p.m. For fans that can’t make it out to the show, they can listen in over the Tribe Radio Network. The Tide 92.3 FM and 107.9 Bach FM are the flagship stations of the Tribe Radio Network and the audio can also be heard on TribeAthletics.com.