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CHARLESTON, S.C. – Senior Sean Sheldon knocked down a pair of free throws with 32 seconds left and junior Omar Prewitt drew a charge on the defensive end in the final 10 seconds as the William & Mary men’s basketball team answered a furious Charleston rally to pull out a 63-61 road win on Thursday night.
The Green and Gold led by as many as 21 points early in the second half, but the Cougars (10-6, 2-3 CAA) rallied to take a three-point lead with 1:34 left. W&M (12-4, 4-1 CAA) made the plays in the final minute to pull out its fourth-straight win.
Sophomore David Cohn led four Tribe players in double figures with 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting, including a 3-of-5 effort from 3-point range. Senior Terry Tarpey finished with 11 points and seven rebounds, while Sheldon and sophomore Greg Malinowski added 10 points each. Malinowski was 4-of-6 from the floor and 2-of-3 from 3-point range, while chipping in six rebounds.
W&M took its largest lead of the contest at 45-24 with 15:29 remaining on an old-fashion three-point play from Sheldon. The Green and Gold maintained a 20-point cushion, 49-29, on back-to-back lay-ups from Tarpey and Malinowski just two minutes later.
Charleston responded with nine straight points as part of an 18-3 run to close the gap to five points. The Cougars hit four straight from the free throw line and Cameron Johnson added a pair of 3-pointers during the stretch. His second triple at the 6:41 mark cut the Tribe lead to 52-47.
Back-to-back 3-pointers from Marquise Pointer and Evan Bailey gave Charleston its first lead of the game at 59-58 with 2:07 remaining. The Cougar margin was three following a pair of Jarrell Brantley free throws at the 1:34 mark.
W&M pulled within a single point on a Prewitt floater with 54 seconds remaining. On the ensuing CofC possession, Pointer missed a leaner over a Daniel Dixon contest, and Sheldon pulled down the rebound drawing a foul in the process. The senior captain, who entered the game shooting 65.4 percent from the charity stripe, stepped up and connected on both free throws to give W&M a 62-61 lead with 32 seconds remaining.
For Charleston, Johnson drove the middle of the lane to try and give the home team the lead once more on its next possesion. Prewitt, though, stepped in front and took the charge with six ticks left on the clock. Dixon hit 1-of-2 from the free throw line to stretch the lead to two. Pointers’ 3-point chance at the buzzer hit off the back iron, and W&M celebrated its first win in Charleston after dropping the previous two meetings in the Port City.
The Tribe finished the night shooting 47.6 percent (20-of-42) from the floor, including 38.5 percent (5-of-13) from 3-point range. W&M hit 18-of-28 (64.3 percent) from the free throw line. Defensively, the Green and Gold held Charleston to 31.7 percent (19-of-60) from the field and 8-of-25 (32 percent) from 3-point range. The Cougars outrebounded W&M, 42-39, on the night.
W&M jumped out of the gates, scoring the game’s first six points and holding Charleston scoreless for the opening three and a half minutes. The Cougars closed to within, 9-8, at the 12:40 mark, but W&M answered with a 10-2 run to push its advantage to double figures. Malinowski’s first 3-pointer of the contest from the right side gave W&M a 21-10 lead with 6:26 left in the opening half.
Leading 24-15, Cohn highlighted a 9-0 Tribe run to extend the lead to 18 in the final minute of the opening half. The sophomore guard scored five points during the spurt, and his 3-pointer with 33 seconds remaining extended the W&M lead to 33-15.
Evan Baily hit Charleston’s only 3-pointer of the first half in the closing seconds to provide the 15-point halftime margin. W&M shot 56.5 percent (13-of-23) in the first half, while limiting Charleston to 25.9 percent (7-of-27) and just 1-of-11 from 3-point range.
Johnson led Charleston with 19 points on 6-of-12 shooting, including 3-of-5 from 3-point range, while Bailey added 16 points. Prewitt finished with eight points, four rebounds and three assists. Dixon led W&M with a career-high tying four assists.
The Tribe wraps up its weekend road swing to the southern part of the CAA, traveling to UNCW on Saturday afternoon. Tip-off is slated for 2 p.m., and the contest will be televised on the American Sports Network with Brock Bowling and Tim Scarborough on the call. Click here for availability of Saturday’s game in your area. Fans can also watch the broadcast online at CAA.TV.
Tribe fans can also catch the men’s basketball action 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 is also available over the Web at TribeAthletics.com.