The William and Mary men’s basketball team used a balanced attack in recording its first ESPN BracketBuster win, dominating Big South foe Radford, 84-52, on Saturday night at Kaplan Arena. The Tribe jumped out to an early advantage and rolled to the easy the victory, placing five players in double figures and shooting better than 50 percent from the floor. W&M, who played in BracketBusters for the fifth straight season, improved to 8-20 on the year, while the Highlanders fell to 5-22.
Sophomore guard Matt Rum topped the Tribe with a career-high 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the floor, including 4-of-6 from 3-point range. Junior forward Quinn McDowell tallied his second straight double-double as he notched 13 points and 10 rebounds. Freshman guard Julian Boatner continued his torrid shooting from beyond the 3-point arc, knocking down four triples to finish with 12 points. Senior forward Marcus Kitts just missed a double-double with 10 points and seven rebounds to go along with four blocked shots, while freshman guard Brandon Britt scored 10 points and dished out a team-best five assists.
The Tribe led by 15, 35-20, at the half and quickly pushed the margin to 25 in the second frame. Over the opening eight minutes of the second half, the Green and Gold hit on nine of its first 12 shots from the floor. Sophomore forward Kyle Gaillard drove the lane and jammed one home over the top of a Radford player to bring the crowd to its feet and extend the lead to 56-31 with 12:03 remaining.
The lead reached as many as 36 following a Kendrix Brown conventional 3-point play at the 3:36 mark. The 32-point victory is the largest for W&M since the 2005-06 season when the Green and Gold opened the campaign with a 34-point victory over Maine on Nov. 18, 2005.
The Tribe finished the game shooting 52.5 percent (31-of-59) from the floor, including 61.3 percent (19-of-31) in the second half. W&M connected on nine 3-pointers and finished with 22 assists compared to just 10 turnovers. Defensively, the College was just as impressive holding Radford to 30.9 percent (21-of-68) shooting from the floor and just 11.8 percent (2-of-17) from 3-point range.
W&M jumped out to the early lead, scoring 12 of the game’s first 14 points. After a jumper in the paint by Jareal Smith gave Radford a 2-1 lead, the Green and Gold scored 11 straight points to seize a double-digit advantage. McDowell capped the spurt with a free throw line jumper off a nice pass from Gaillard to give the College a 12-2 lead at the 14:29 mark.
The Highlanders pulled within three points by scoring seven straight points. Martins Abele scored on a move in the post following a Smith 3-pointer to cut the gap to 12-9 with 12:20 left in the opening half.
Rum found Kitts for a two-handed stuff along the left baseline at the 11:45 mark to ignite a 15-1 spurt. Boatner knocked down a pair of triples during the run, while McDowell added five points. A pair of Tim Rusthoven free throws at the 6:03 mark put the Green and Gold on top, 27-10. The lead reached as many 20, 32-12, in the opening half on a Kendrix Brown free throw with 4:05 remaining before the Highlanders pulled to within 35-20 at the intermission.
Smith led the Highlanders, finishing with a game-high 18 points. Tolja Cerrah turned in a double-double performance for Radford with 11 points 15 rebounds. For the Tribe, Brown had nice all-around game tallying six points, nine rebounds and four assists. Along with Rum, the Tribe reserves received good production from Rusthoven and Gaillard as W&M outscored Radford, 33-11, in bench points. Rusthoven finished with eight points and four rebounds, while Gaillard added seven points, four rebounds and four assists compared to zero turnovers.