WYDaily.com is your source for free news and information in Williamsburg, James City & York Counties.
Junior Daniel Dixon delivered an early Christmas present on Monday evening at Kaplan Arena, knocking down a 24-foot 3-pointer with 3.4 seconds left in overtime to send the William & Mary men’s basketball team to a thrilling 78-75 victory over three-time defending Big South regular season champion High Point.
Dixon scored 11 of the Tribe’s 13 points in the extra session after regulation ended in back-and-forth fashion. The Tribe improved to 7-3 on the year, including a spotless 5-0 mark at home, while High Point, which suffered three losses to Power Five opponents by a combined 10 points, fell to 8-4.
Dixon, who also hit a game-winning 3-pointer in the Tribe’s double-OT win in the CAA semifinals last season, scored a game-high 20 points on 5-of-10 from 3-point range. He did most of his damage in the second half and overtime, connecting on 5-of-7 from the field and 4-of-5 from 3-point range over the final 25 minutes.
Junior Omar Prewitt scored 13 of his 17 points in the first half to go with six rebounds and a career-high six assists. Senior Terry Tarpey, who returned to the lineup after missing the Tribe’s previous game with Mary Washington due to injury, and Sean Sheldon both added 10 points in the victory.
Tarpey poached six steals, which tied a career high and rank fourth in W&M history, while Sheldon led W&M on the glass with seven rebounds and held High Point’s leading scorer John Brown to just eight points on 1-of-6 shooting after he entered the contest averaging 20.3 points per game.
Trailing by six early in the second half, the Tribe put together and impressive 16-2 run to surge in front of the visiting Panthers. It was the Tribe bench that sparked the spurt, scoring 12 of the 16 points. Sophomore Oliver Tot started it with a putback, while fellow classmates Greg Malinowski and Connor Burchfield each tallied five points over the stretch.
A Burchfield 3 put the home team on top, and Malinowski capped the spurt with a triple from the left corner to push the margin to 54-46 with 8:55 remaining.
The lead remained eight following a David Cohn offensive putback on the fastbreak, before High Point put together a 13-2 run to move in front. An Adam Weary steal and fast-break lay-up tied the game at 58 with 3:55 left.
After Tarpey briefly put W&M back on top with two free throws off a steal, Lorenzo Cugini scored five straight points, including a heavily-contested 3-pointer from the right wing, giving HPU a 63-60 lead at the two-minute mark.
The game remained exciting over the final minute. Tarpey and Tot both knocked down free throws to put the home team back on top, before a driving lay-up from Weary with just 17 seconds remaining swung the advantage back to the visitors, 65-64.
With just over seven seconds remaining in regulation, Dixon knocked down his first big 3-pointer from the left side for what appeared to be the game-winner. High Point’s Haiishen McIntyre answered quickly on a lay-up on the other end with just 1.3 seconds left to send the game to overtime tied at 67.
Dixon came up with a number of big players in the extra five minutes and wasted little time putting W&M in front with a triple just 21 seconds into OT. The Tribe lead was 73-71 with 1:10 remaining when the teams started trading big plays again in the clutch.
A Tarique Thompson offensive putback tied the contest for the seventh time with 46 seconds remaining, and Dixon briefly put W&M back in front by two with a banking runner just 12 ticks later.
Weary drove hard to the hoop on the ensuing High Point possession and drew the foul. He hit both free throws with 11.6 remaining to pull the Panthers even for the final time. Out of a Tribe timeout, Dixon received a high-ball screen on the right side, the HPU defender gave the Great Falls, Va., native too much space and he drilled the 24-footer with 3.4 second left for the winner.
McIntyre’s desperation heave from half court at the buzzer was off the mark, and W&M celebrated the victory.
The Tribe, which won its third straight overtime game dating back to 2013, finished the night shooting 42.4 percent (28-of-66) from the floor, including a 10-of-29 effort from 3-point range. It marked the second straight game in which W&M hit double-digit 3-pointers and the fifth time overall this season.
The Green and Gold is 4-1 in those contests. W&M shot 48.6 percent (17-of-35) in the second half and overtime. The Tribe dished out 16 assists on its 28 field goals and tallied seven blocked shots and nine steals on the evening. They also held a 41-38 advantage on the glass against the Panthers.
High Point connected on 42.6 percent (26-of-61) for the game, including 7-of-17 (41.2 percent) from 3-point range. The Panthers were 16-of-19 (84.2 percent) from the free throw line. Cugini led four HPU players in double figures with 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting, including 4-of-7 from 3-point range, to go with eight rebounds. Thompson added 13 points off the bench, while McIntyre had 11 and Weary chipped in 11.
High Point opened up a first-half advantage in a back-and-forth game with an 8-0 spurt. Tied at eight following a Sheldon lay-up, Thompson scored five straight points for the Panthers, before Jorge Perez-Laham hit a 3-pointer to give the visitors a 16-8 cushion seven minute into the contest.
W&M closed to within four, 20-16, on a Prewitt jumper, but High Point slowly pushed its lead to double figures. The margin reached its largest at 32-21 following a pair of Andre Fox free throws at the 3:31 mark.
The Tribe took the momentum to the locker room, scoring the final eight points of the opening half. After a Dixon lay-up, he and Malinowski knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers to close the gap to 32-29 at the intermission.
The Green and Gold run continued into the second half as W&M scored the first four points of the frame. A Tarpey steal and fast-break lay-up just 32 seconds into the stanza gave W&M a 33-32 lead.
Seven straight High Point points, including an old-fashion 3-point play at the 17:17 mark by John Brown, swung the lead back to the Panthers at 39-33. It marked the first points and only field goal of the game for Brown, who entered the game ranked second among active NCAA Division I players in scoring.
Malinowski tallied eight points off the bench to go with four rebounds. Tot played 16 minutes in the second half and overtime, giving W&M valuable time at the guard position. He finished with four points, three rebounds, an assist and a blocked shot.
Whitman helped in defense of Brown on the low block as he pulled down five rebounds in reserve to go with two points and two blocked shots in 19 minutes.
The Tribe returns to action following the Christmas holiday when it closes out the non-conference slate against Central Michigan on Dec. 29.
The game will be part of a basketball doubleheader with Tribe women, who face Old Dominion at 5 p.m. The men host the Chippewas at 7:30 p.m., and both games will be broadcast live for free in HD on Tribe Athletics TV.
Fans can tune into 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 broadcast can be heard on TribeAthletics.com.