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The William and Mary men’s basketball team suffered a 76-69 setback to Towson in its Colonial Athletic Association opener on New Year’s Eve. The Tigers (10-4, 1-0 CAA) rallied from a 12-point first-half deficit and used a 17-2 run midway through the second half to knock off the Tribe (8-4, 0-1 CAA).
Sophomore guard David Cohn scored a career-high 16 points on 5-of-9 from the floor, including a 2-of-4 effort from 3-point range, to go with four assists. Senior Sean Sheldon added 14 points on 7-of-10 shooting, while junior Omar Prewitt just missed a double-double with 14 points and nine rebounds. Junior Daniel Dixon rounded out the Tribe’s double-digit scorers with 10.
The Tribe led 54-51 with 11:49 remaining following a Prewitt lay-up off a driving dish from Cohn, but Towson responded with 13 straight points as part of a 17-2 run. The Tigers held W&M without a field goal for more than six minutes in opening up its largest lead of the contest.
Senior Timajh Parker-Rivera scored all eight of his points during the run, including a pair of dunks to punctuate the Tigers spurt. Sheldon ended the Tribe scoring draught with a jumper from the right side, but Parker converted a lay-up and Walter Foster followed up his own miss to push the Tigers lead to 68-56 with four minutes remaining.
Cohn scored seven straight points to spark a 9-0 Tribe run and closed the gap to three. He knocked down two 3-pointer from the top of the key, drawing a foul on the second. The Elmhurst, Ill., native converted the 4-point play at the 2:06 mark, and after two Prewitt free throws, the Tribe trailed by only three, 68-65, with 1:09left. Towson though held on for the victory, hitting 8-of-10 from the charity stripe of the final minute.
The Tribe finished the game at 44.6 percent (25-of-56) from the floor, but connected on only 37 percent (10-of-27) in the second half and was just 5-of-23 from 3-point range overall. The Green and Gold dished out 19 assists on its 25 made field goals, including a game-high six from senior Terry Tarpey. He added three blocked shots and three steals on the afternoon. W&M shot a season-best 93.3 percent on 14-of-15 from the free throw line.
Towson connected on 42.6 percent (26-of-61), including a impressive 51.7 percent (15-of-29) in the second half. The Tigers shot 81.5 percent (22-of-27) from the free throw line on the afternoon. TU also owned a 38-32 advantage on the glass. Towson forced W&M into 16 turnovers and scored 21 points off the miscues.
The Tigers led early at 12-8 following a 3-pointer from Byron Hawkins, but W&M answered with seven straight points to move in front. Dixon scored five of the Green and Gold’s seven during the spurt, including a driving lay-up with 11:57 remaining in the half to give W&M a 15-12 advantage.
After Towson retook the lead on four straight points from Alex Thomas, W&M responded with a 14-4 run to open up a nine-point cushion. Cohn’s conventional 3-point play after scoring on the break put W&M on top 20-18. The Green and Gold closed the spurt with seven straight points. A Connor Burchfield 3-pointer from the left side forced a Towson timeout, before freshman Hunter Seacat scored off a dish from Tarpey to give W&M a 31-22 lead with 5:11remaining in the opening half.
The Tribe’s advantage reached double-digits for the first time on a Sheldon tip-in at the 2:05 mark and moved to its largest at 12, 39-27, on a pair of Burchfield free throws. Towson though score the final seven points of the half, including a Hawkins’ 3-pointer with six seconds remaining, to close the gap to 39-34 at the intermission.
The Tigers carried the momentum over to the second half with a 9-2 run to start the final 20 minutes. William Adala Moto capped the spurt with a steal and fast-break lay-up, while drawing the foul. His conventional 3-point play gave the visitors a 43-41 lead just two minutes into the second frame.
Dixon immediately answered with a 3-pointer from the left side to put W&M back in front. The lead jumped back to three points, 48-45, following a Tarpey steal that resulted in a Cohn fast-break lay-up, but Towson rallied behind its decisive 17-2 run.
Mike Morsell and Adala Moto topped Towson with 18 points apiece. Morsell added team-high eight rebounds, while Moto hit 10-of-12 from the free throw line to go with five rebounds and three assists. Hawkins chipped in 13 points for the Tigers.
The Tribe wraps up its five-game homestand against the College of Charleston on Saturday. The game carries a 4 p.m. start and will be broadcast on Tribe Athletics TV via Stretch Internet.
Tribe fans can also listen in over 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 audio can also be heard online at TribeAthletics.com.