On the night that senior guard Marcus Thornton broke the oldest Division I scoring record in the country, the William and Mary men’s basketball team turned in a stout defensive first-half effort and then held off a late Towson rally to remain in first place in the CAA standings with a 65-50 victory on Wednesday night. The Tribe held Towson without a field goal over the final 17:10 of the first half, and then scored the final 10 points of the contest in picking up the victory. W&M improved to 18-10 overall and 12-5 in CAA play, while the Tigers fell to 12-18 on the year and 5-12 in league action.
Thornton nearly brought down the house when he was fouled on a dunk attempt over Towson’s Walter Foster that would have broken the school mark. Instead, the Upper Marlboro, Md., native calmly stepped to the free throw line and knocked down both to surpass Chet Giermak’s record (2,052) that stood since 1950. In the end, Thornton finished with 23 points on 7-of-15 shooting, including a 4-of-8 effort from 3-point range. His career scoring total sits at 2,062, which ranks 11th in CAA history and is sixth among active Division I players.
Not to be outdone, junior Terry Tarpey enjoyed another stat-stuffing night. He scored 18 of his career-high 24 points in the second half, while recording his eighth double-double of the season, pulling down a career-high tying 13 rebounds. Tarpey added three steals, five blocked shots and three assists, while shooting 8-of-11 from the field, 2-of-3 from 3-point range and 6-of-7 from the charity stripe.
The Tigers sprung out the gates, hitting five of their first seven shots and led 11-6 following a Bryon Hawkins putback of his own miss at the 17:10 mark. The Tribe turned up the defensive pressure and Towson went on to missed its final 26 shots of the first half. TU managed just four free throws for the remainder of the opening 20 minutes and finished the first half shooting just 15.2 percent (5-of-33).
Trailing 12-6 following a Timajh Parker-Riveria free throw just over four minutes into the contest, the Tribe ripped off seven straight points to take the lead and force a Towson timeout. Tarpey highlighted the spurt with a pair of steals and fast-break buckets, including a dunk to put the home side on top 13-12 with 13:41 left in the half.
After the Tigers tied the game at 13 on a free throw, W&M scored 11 straight points, bring the run to 18-1. Thornton scored seven points on the spurt, knocking down a 3-pointer at the 6:42 mark and a driving lay-up just over a minute later to push the lead to 24-13.
With W&M holding the final shot of the first half, Thornton drove the middle of the lane and nearly threw down a thunderous dunk, but was fouled. The raucous crowd of 3,227 reached a fever pitch anticipating Thornton’s record breaker of the long-standing mark. He swished both freebies and W&M took a 28-15 advantage to the locker room.
Tarpey scored 10 of the Tribe’s first 13 points in the second half to push the lead over 20. As part of a 10-1 run, he scored eight points, including back-to-back 3-pointers. His free throws with 14:50 remaining in the contest, extended the Tribe cushion to its largest of the game at 41-18.
Towson slowly started to whittle away at the Tribe lead. The Tigers put together a 10-2 run to cut the gap to 12. John Davis scored five straight points, including an old-fashion 3-point play at the 9:27 mark to cut the margin to 47-35.
A Four McGlynn 3-pointer at the 3:28 mark drew Towson within five points at 55-50, but on his record-setting night, Thornton had the answer. The senior guard canned back-to-back 3-pointers, including a deep triple, while getting fouled, as the Tribe scored the final 10 points to put the game away.
W&M finished the night shooting 46.9 percent (23-of-49) from the field, including a 54.2-percent (13-of-24) clip in the second half. W&M knocked down 7-of-16 (43.8) from 3-point range and connected on 70.6 percent (12-of-17) from the free throw line. The Green and Gold dished out 17 assists on 23 made field goals and turned the ball over just eight times, while blocking nine shots.
Towson rebounded from its dreadful first-half shooting performance to hit 50 percent (12-of-24) of its shots in the second half. TU finished the game at 29.8 percent (17-of-57) and was just 5-of-25 (20 percent) from 3-point range. The Tigers held a 42-30 advantage on the glass.
Sophomore Omar Prewitt finished with nine points, four rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots on the night. Senior Tom Schalk chipped in six points, five rebounds, four assists, two blocked shots and two steals. McGlynn was the only Towson player in double figures at 13 points, while Hawkins scored nine points. Davis added eight points and six rebounds.
The Tribe closes out the regular season at home against Drexel on Saturday, Feb. 28, at 2 p.m. The game will be televised regionally on Comcast SportsNet with Rob Carlin and Blaine Taylor on the call. It will be Senior Day, and W&M will honor its senior class of Tyler Johnson, Tom Schalk, Marcus Thornton and manager Brian Gelston prior to tip-off. Along with arriving early for the Senior Day festivities, fans are ask to stay following the game for a special video presentation.
Fans can also listen in over the Tribe Radio Network with Wesley Kempton, 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 broadcast can be heard online at TribeAthletics.com.