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RALEIGH, N.C. – The William & Mary men’s basketball team started off the 2015-16 season in grand fashion, dominating 2015 NCAA Sweet 16 participant N.C. State, 85-68, on Friday night at PNC Arena.
The Green and Gold used a 17-2 run early in the first half to race out to a 20-point advantage and never looked back. W&M finished the night at 51.7 percent from the field and controlled every facet of the game, including a 17-4 advantage in fastbreak points and a 40-28 cushion in the paint over a Wolfpack team that entered the night receiving votes in both the Associated Press Top 25 and USA Today Coaches Poll.
The victory was the Tribe’s first over the Wolfpack since 1952 and its first in Raleigh since 1950.
Junior Daniel Dixon topped the Tribe with 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting, including 4-of-9 from 3-point range, while fellow classmate Omar Prewitt added 17 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Senior Terry Tarpey turned in his patented all-around stat-stuffing line with 11 points, eight rebounds, three assists and a game-high five steals.
Fellow classmate Sean Sheldon turned in a near double-double performance with eight points and eight rebounds, and sophomore transfer David Cohn enjoyed a strong W&M debut with nine points, seven rebounds and five assists compared to just one turnover.
The Tribe jumped out to an early 10-3 lead thanks to eight straight points, capped by back-to-back triples from Dixon just three minutes into the contest. The Wolfpack briefly pulled within five on a Malik-Abdul Abu jumper, before the Green and Gold took commanding control, ripping off a 17-2 run to give the visitors a 20-point advantage.
A steal and fast-break dunk from Tarpey pushed the Tribe’s lead to double-digit for the first time at 15-5 with 15:37 left in first half. Cohn scored five straight points, including a fastbreak 3-pointer from the right wing off a Tarpey steal, to push the margin to 18, before it ballooned to as much 27-7 at the 12:22 mark.
The Wolfpack closed to within 32-20 with just over seven minutes remaining in the half thanks to seven straight points, but W&M answered with 3-pointer from Prewitt and sophomore Connor Burchfield.
Just before the halftime horn, Cohn found Sheldon for a lay-up to send the Tribe to the locker room with a 51-35 cushion. W&M shot 53.3 percent (16-of-30) from the field in the opening 20 minutes, hitting seven 3-pointers, to go with a 12-of-16 clip (75 percent) from the free throw line.
W&M did not let up at all to start the second half, pushing the advantage to its largest at 23. A patented Tarpey steal, as he swatted away a baseline inbounds pass, resulted to a one-hand jam for the Tribe senior on the other end to extend the margin to 62-39 and force a Wolfpack timeout with 16:13 left.
A 12-2 Wolfpack run cut the Tribe lead to 13 midway through the second 20 minutes. Caleb Martin knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers for N.C. State, before a traditional 3-point play from Maverick Rowan cut the gap to 68-55 with 10:52 remaining.
N.C. State could get no closer than 12 points the rest of the way as the Tribe answered each Wolfpack push. After a Cat Barber lay-up cut the Tribe advantage to 12, 78-66, with 4:46 left, Dixon responded with the knockout blow scoring five straight points. The junior guard scored on a driving lay-up, before hitting a 3-pointer from the right side to push the margin back to its final mark of 17, 83-66, with 3:04 remaining.
The Tribe, which led for 38:22 of the game, connected on better than 50 percent from the field in both halves, finishing at 51.7 percent (31-of-60), including a 40.9 percent clip (9-of-22) from 3-point range. W&M was 14-of-19 from the free throw line (73.7 percent) and out-rebounded the Wolfpack, 42-38, to go with 10 steals.
Defensively, the Green and Gold limited N.C. State to 38 percent (27-of-71) from the field and 27.3 percent (6-of-22) from beyond the 3-point arc.
Caleb Martin led all scorers with 21 points, including 5-of-10 from 3-point range, for N.C. State, while Abu added 17 points, six rebounds and four assists. Rowan chipped in 16 points off the bench for the Wolfpack, while Barber, a preseason candidate for the Bob Cousy Award which goes to the top point guard in the country, finished with 11 points on just 4-of-16 shooting and six assists.
W&M received contributions up and down the lineup, including 21 points off the bench. Burchfield finished with eight points in eight minutes on a perfect 3-of-3 from the field, including a pair of 3-pointers. Sophomore Greg Malinowski added six points off the bench, while classmate Jack Whitman scored four points and freshman Hunter Seacat tallied three points in his first collegiate action.
The Tribe returns to action when it continues its season-opening round swing at Liberty on Tuesday night. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. in Lynchburg.
The game will be broadcast on the Big South Network and ESPN3. Tribe fans can listen into the broadcast on the Tribe Radio Network with Jay Colley and Charlie Woollum on the call. The Tide 92.3 FM is the flagship station of the Tribe Radio Network.