Tribe downs Towson in CAA play
The William and Mary men’s basketball team secured its first road victory of the year Wednesday night in convincing fashion, 83-68, over Towson. Led by freshman guard Julian Boatner’s freshman-record tying six 3-pointers, the Green and Gold shot 55.8 percent from the floor and 51.8 percent from 3-point range in rolling past the Tigers. The Green and Gold won its second straight game, improving to 6-12 overall and 2-5 in CAA play, while TU fell to 4-13 on the year and 0-7 in league action.
Boatner led W&M with a game and career-high 22 points. He equaled Nick D’Antoni and Matt Verkey’s Tribe freshman record of six 3-pointers. The 6-2 guard was 6-of-7 from long range, which marked the third-best percentage in school history, and added three assists. Fellow freshman Brandon Britt finished with 16 points on 6-of-10 from the floor and 3-of-5 from 3-point range to go along with a team and career-high five rebounds and three assists.
The Tribe tallied its second straight game of 80-plus points, marking the first time since early in the 2005-06 season that W&M produced back-to-back games of 80 or more points. W&M canned a season-best 14 3-point field goals and dished out 20 assists compared to just 10 turnovers on 29 made field goals.
Britt scored five of the Tribe’s first eight points, pushing W&M to the early 8-2 lead following a 3-pointer at the 16:20 mark. The Tigers pulled within one at 8-7 on a conventional 3-point play from Braxton Dupree just over a minute later. Four straight Tribe points pushed the lead back to 12-7 punctuated by a Kyle Gaillard dunk at the 13:27. The Tigers answered right back as Josh Brown drilled a 3-pointer from the right wing cut the deficit to two. W&M took control of the contest with a 16-4 run to take its largest lead of the opening 20 minutes.
Boatner knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers to push the lead to eight, before his freshman backcourt mate Britt connected on a triple of his own. Junior forward Quinn McDowell capped the run with a conventional 3-point play to put the Green and Gold on top 28-14 with 7:30 remaining.
Towson pulled back within seven on a pair of occasions late in the first half. On the second occasion, Brian Morris found Dupree for a lay-up with 1:44 remaining. The Tribe pushed the lead back to 13 as junior JohnMark Ludwick found Boatner for back-to-back 3-pointers. The Tigers’ Rashawn Polk hit a deep 3-pointer from the top of the key at the halftime horn to cut the Tribe advantage to 41-31.
The Green and Gold came out of the locker room on a roll, scoring the first nine points of the second half, ending the Tiger threat. Britt found senior Marcus Kitts for a two-handed dunk on the opening play of the second half and then converted a conventional 3-point play. After a Kitts free throw, Britt drove and kicked to a wide-open Ludwick for a triple that gave the College a 50-31 lead less than three minutes into the second half.
In total, the College connected on 10 of its first 12 shots in the second half and the lead ballooned to as many as 31 points. After an Erique Gumbs bucket cut the Tribe lead to 66-44, W&M scored nine straight points to push the lead to its largest. Kitts found McDowell for a lay-up, before Boatner hit three free throws after being fouled on a 3-point attempt. The Bloomington, Ind., native then found Gaillard for a 3-pointer from the top of the key to give the College a 75-44 lead with 8:52 remaining. Over the opening 11 minutes of the second half, W&M outscored the Tigers, 34-13.
With the game well in hand, the Tribe lead 83-60 following a shot-clock beating jumper from the left baseline by junior Kendrix Brown with 2:26 remaining. The Tigers were able to pull within the final margin of 15 by scoring the game’s final eight points.
All five Tribe starters finished in double figures as McDowell added 12 points, while Kitts and Ludwick each finished with 10 points. Kitts also pulled down a team-high five rebounds and blocked two shots. Gaillard finished with six points off the bench for the Green and Gold, while adding a career-high four steals.
For the game, Towson shot 45.6 percent (26-of-57) from the field and just 14.3 percent (2-of-14) from 3-point range. Junior Braxton Dupree led the Tigers with 17 points to go along with six rebounds. Senior Josh Brown finished with 15 points, while freshman Erique Gumbs tallied 12 points off the bench.