After one of the longest and latest travel days of the year, the William and Mary men’s basketball team gutted out an 80-78 road victory at Hofstra on Sunday afternoon. Senior guard Marcus Thornton knocked down a pair of clutch free throws with 3.7 seconds remaining to give W&M the victory. The Tribe endured a 14-hour travel day on Saturday, which included an eight-hour bus ride after its flight out of Virginia was cancelled, and got into Long Island at 3 a.m. Thre Green and Gold improved to 17-10 overall and remained in first-place in the league standings at 11-5 along with UNCW, Northeastern and JMU, while Hofstra fell to 18-11 on the year and 9-7 in league action.
Thornton scored a game-high 23 points, none bigger than his last-second free throws, and added four assists compared to zero turnovers. In a homecoming, junior Terry Tarpey turned in a standout performance with 21 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including a career-best 4-of-5 from 3-point range. Tarpey added game-highs of eight rebounds and four steals. Freshman Greg Malinowski, who earned his second career start, and junior Sean Sheldon each scored 11 points in the victory. Malinowski was 4-of-5 from the field, including a 2-of-3 effort from 3-point range, to go with a career-high five rebounds.
The Tribe used an 8-1 run with four and a half minutes remaining to take its largest lead at 73-63. Thornton canned his only 3-pointer of the day, before Malinowski knocked down a jumper just inside the free throw line and was fouled. He completed the old-fashion 3-point play, and Tarpey followed with a fastbreak lay-up off a steal to force a Hofstra timeout.
The Pride would not go away behind its 3-point shooting. Juan’ya Green scored eight straight points, including back-to-back 3-pointers. An Aheem Tanksley 3-pointer from the left side cut the gap to 77-74 with 1:46 left. Hofstra pulled within a point on two Green free throws with 1:14 left. After a Thornton free throw, Green’s lay-up with 34 seconds remaining tied the game for just the fourth time at 78.
W&M held for the last shot and with under five seconds remaining, Thornton drove the left side of the lane and drew a blocking foul on Hofstra’s Malik Nichols. With 3.7 seconds remaining, Thornton knocked down both freebies to put W&M ahead 80-78. Hofstra’s last-second chance from Dion Nesmith slipped out of his hands on the way up, and the Tribe celebrated the victory.
The Tribe finished the game at 49.1 percent (28-of-57) from the field, including 7-of-20 from 3-point range. The biggest difference for W&M came at the free throw line, where they outscored Hofstra, 17-7. The Green and Gold shot 85 percent from the charity line, hitting 17-of-20, while holding Hofstra to just 7-of-10. The Pride entered the game averaging 17 makes and 24 attempts per game.
The Tribe dished out 21 assists on its 28 made field goals, led by sophomore Omar Prewitt’s career-high tying six helpers. The Green and Gold also only turned the ball over seven times in the victory, while recording 10 steals.
Hofstra connected on 45.3 percent (29-of-64) from the field and did a significant amount of work from 3-point range, hitting on 13-of-31 (41.9 percent). The Pride held a 38-27 advantage on the glass.
Sheldon and Tarpey combined for the Tribe’s first nine points, and following a Prewitt leaner in the lane, the Tribe lead 11-5 just over three and a half minutes into the game. Thornton’s first points of the contest on a conventional 3-point play extend W&M’s lead to seven, 17-10, at the 13:56 mark.
Hofstra scored seven straight points to tie it for the final time in the opening 20 minutes. A Nesmith banker with 10:20 left in the first pulled the Pride even at 17.
Tarpey answered right back with a 3-pointer from the top of the key on the ensuing Tribe possession. Prewitt found senior Tom Schalk for a lay-up to pushed W&M’s advantage back to seven points, before Thornton split the middle of the Hofstra defense for a bucket, giving the Tribe its largest lead of the first half at 33-24 at the six-minute mark.
The Pride drew within two points via a 9-2 run. Nichols scored back-to-back baskets, and Green knocked down a triple to cut the Tribe advantage to 35-33 with just under two minutes left in the first stanza.
W&M though took the momentum to the locker room, scoring six of the half’s final seven points. Prewitt contributed the final four points from the charity stripe and the Green and Gold’s half-time advantage was 41-34.
Back-to-back 3-pointers from Green and Nesmith tied the contest at 49 for the first time in the second half. The Pride had an opportunity to take its first lead of the ballgame, but Tanksley’s jumper was off the mark and the Tribe scored seven straight points to re-established its halftime cushion.
Thornton knocked down a pair of free throws, and Malinowski canned a 3-pointer from the left side off a dish from freshman Oliver Tot. A Tarpey steal on the defensive end resulted in a fast-break bucket the other way as Thornton fed Tot for a lay-up, extending the Tribe margin to 56-49 with 10:44 left.
Green led five Pride players in double figures with 21 points, including a 5-of-8 effort from 3-point range. Nesmith added 17 points and nine assists, while Brian Bernardi hit four 3-pointers on his way to 15 points. Nichols and Tanksley chipped in 12 and 11 points, respectively.
The Tribe returns to Williamsburg for its final two regular season games this week. The Green and Gold host Towson on Wednesday night for a 7 p.m. tip-off that will be streamed for FREE in HD on Tribe Athletics TV via TribeAthletics.com. W&M will welcome Drexel to Williamsburg on Saturday, Feb. 28, for Senior Day at Kaplan Arena. The game will be broadcast regionally on Comcast SportsNet beginning at 2 p.m. Fans are ask to stay following the game with Drexel for a special video presentation.
Tribe fans can listen to both broadcasts on the Tribe Radio Network with Jay Colley and Charlie Woollum on the call. The Tide 92.3 FM and 107.9 Bach FM are the flagship stations of the Tribe Radio Network and the game can be heard online at TribeAthletics.com.
On Monday night, the Chesapeake Bank Tony Shaver Show returns to Paul’s Deli, 761 Scotland Street, in Williamsburg. The Show kicks off at 7 p.m. and will be aired on the Tribe Radio Network and TribeAthletics.com. The Tide 92.3 FM and 107.9 Bach FM are the flagship stations of the Tribe Radio Network. Come out or tune in to hear Coach Shaver’s thoughts on the Tribe and its upcoming home games.
The final ‘Luncheon with Tony’ from Anna’s Brick Oven in Williamsburg will be on Tuesday, Feb. 24, at an earlier time of 11:30 a.m. to accommodate special guest senior guard Marcus Thornton, who just became the third player in W&M history to score 2,000 career points. The ‘Luncheon with Tony’ series provides fans the opportunity to get Coach Shaver’s thoughts on the Tribe’s season and upcoming games as well as talk W&M basketball with Thornton, one of the finest players ever to wear the Green and Gold.