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For the second time in the last four seasons, the William & Mary men’s basketball team started the season 3-0 with a convincing 85-60 win over visiting Washington Adventist in the home opener on Thursday night at Kaplan Arena.
The Green and Gold limited the Shock to just 34.9 percent from the floor, while scoring 46 points and in the paint and 24 points in transition to pick up the victory.
Junior wing Omar Prewitt led three Tribe players in doubles figures with a season-high 22 points on 9-of-15 shooting. He added a team-high seven rebounds and a season-best four assists.
Senior Sean Sheldon scored in double figures for the second straight game with 14 points on 5-of-8 from the field, while fellow classmate Terry Tarpey added 12 points, seven rebounds, five steals and three blocked shots in the victory.
Tied at 12, six and a half minutes into the contest, W&M used a 24-4 run to break it open. The Tribe scored 12 straight points to push its advantage to double-digits.
Sophomore Jack Whitman put W&M on top for good with a pair of free throws, before junior Daniel Dixon knocked down a triple from the right wing. A Whitman dunk followed by a Greg Malinowski 3-pointer in transition gave the Tribe a 22-12 lead and forced a WAU timeout with 11:02 left.
A pair of nice passes extended the Tribe margin to 16. Prewitt found Tarpey for an alley-oop dunk, and sophomore David Cohn threaded a pass to a wide-open Prewitt for a bucket, pushing the W&M advantage to 32-16.
Back-to-back lay-ups from Sheldon saw the lead balloon to 20, 36-16, with 6:20 remaining. During the run, W&M connected on 10-of-15 from the field, while holding the Shock to just 2-of-11.
WAU used a 12-2 spurt to narrow the gap back to 10. Martin Wilson started the run with a 3-pointer from the left side, while Tyrus Fleetwood scored on a pair of driving lay-ups. Another Wilson jumper, this time inside the arc, at the 4:04 mark, capped nine straight points from the Shock and cut the Tribe lead to 38-28. Dixon found Sheldon for a fast-break lay-up with just under a minute remaining to send W&M to the locker room with a 42-30 advantage.
The visitors scored six of the first eight points in the opening two minutes of the second half to close the gap to, 44-36, on an Elliot Meredith lay-up. The Tribe ripped off seven straight to regain a double-digit cushion midway through the second stanza. Dixon knocked down a jumper from the elbow, before Cohn went coast-to-coast for a fast-break lay-up to give the home team a 56-41 lead with 9:28 left.
The Green and Gold put the game away with a 16-1 run. Tarpey started the spurt with four straight points, before he found freshman Hunter Seacat for a fast-break lay-up. Dixon knocked down a 3-pointer from the right side, and Prewitt scored the final five points of the run. His triple from the left wing at the 4:27 mark pushed the advantage to its largest at 76-47.
The Tribe finished the night shooting 46.4 percent (32-of-69) from the field, including a 7-of-22 effort (31.8 percent) from 3-point range. The Green and Gold canned 5-of-10 from long range in the second half, while closing out at 14-of-21 (66.7 percent) from the free throw line. W&M held a 46-40 advantage on the glass, had 20 assists on 32 made field goals, blocked 10 shots and tallied 13 steals.
WAU shot 34.9 percent (22-of-63) from the field and was only 3-of-15 (20 percent) from 3-point range. Brian Bridgeforth led the Shock with 13 points, six rebounds and three blocked Jamison Glover added five points off the bench.
W&M travels to Dayton on Saturday for its third game in five days. Tip-off is slated for 2 p.m. from UD Arena in Dayton, Ohio. The game will be televised on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel and also be available on the A-10 Network
Tribe fans can also catch the action over the Tribe Radio Network with Wesley Kempton on the call. With Tribe men’s basketball and football both playing Saturday afternoon, the basketball game, in its entirety, will be carried on 107.9 Bach FM, while the football game will be on The Tide 92.3 FM. The audio broadcast of both can also be heard over the Web at TribeAthletics.com.