Strong Finish Propels Tribe Men’s Basketball to Road Win at Elon

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Courtesy of TribeAthletics.com
Courtesy of TribeAthletics.com

Elon, N.C. – The William & Mary men’s basketball team held Elon scoreless over the final four minutes and ended the game on an 11-0 run to pick up a 75-65 road win on Thursday night at Alumni Gym.

The Green and Gold (19-9, 11-6 CAA) trailed by as much as nine in the second half, but shot 62.5 percent (15-of-24) from the floor in the final 20 minutes. Defensively, the Tribe, which improved to 8-4 when trailing at the half, limited the Phoenix (15-15, 6-11 CAA) to 33.3 percent (9-of-27) shooting in the second half.

Junior Omar Prewitt once again led the Tribe with 19 points on 7-of-15 shooting, including 3-of-5 from 3-point range, to go with seven rebounds. Senior Terry Tarpey finished with 18 points on 6-of-8 from the floor and shared team-high rebounding honors with seven. Sophomore David Cohn and junior Daniel Dixon added 10 points apiece.

After the Tribe took its first lead in the second half on an Oliver Tot leaner with 4:44 left, Elon’s Luke Eddy put the home team back in front just over 30 seconds later. W&M turned it up on both ends, holding the Phoenix scoreless the rest of the way and scoring the final 11 points.

Prewitt’s fadeaway jumper in the lane with 2:43 left gave W&M the lead for good. Defensively, the Tribe held Elon without points on its final seven possessions as the home team was 0-of-5 from the floor with three turnovers.

Leading by one, W&M scored on back-to-back possessions thanks to a pair of big offensive rebounds. Sophomore Jack Whitman collected one of his four offensive caroms and was fouled. He knocked down both free throws to extend the lead to 68-65. The second offensive rebound came with just 55.9 seconds remaining as Tarpey putback a missed 3-point attempt to push the lead to five. W&M hit 5-of-6 at the charity stripe over the final 40 seconds to solidify the road win, W&M’s seventh of the season.

The Tribe shot 48.1 percent (25-of-52) from the field, including 6-of-17 (35.3 percent) from 3-point range. The Green and Gold connected on 76 percent (19-of-25) from the charity stripe and outrebounded Elon, 40-31. Senior Sean Sheldon and Whitman both turned in strong performance in the post for W&M. Sheldon tallied seven points on 3-of-5 shooting to go with five rebounds and three assists, while Whitman added five points, six rebounds and two assists in 13 minutes off the bench.

Elon finished the game at 40.7 percent (24-of-59) from the floor. The Phoenix connected on 11 3-pointers, but shot just 32.4 percent from long range, including 27.8 percent (5-of-18) in the second half. Tanner Samson led Elon with 18 points on 6-of-11 from 3-point range, while Eddy added 12 points.

Elon jumped out of the gates quickly with back-to-back 3-pointers from Samson and Eddy. The Green and Gold took its first lead, 7-6, two minutes into the contest on a Tarpey steal that led to a conventional three-point play.

Back-to-back Samson 3-pointers swayed the advantage back to the homeside, 17-11, with 12:29 left. The Green and Gold again responded with seven straight to regain the lead. Dixon knocked down a 3-pointer from the top of the key to tie the game at 26, and a pair of Tarpey free throws at the 6:49 mark gave W&M a 28-26 lead.

The momentum would be short lived as Elon held W&M without a field goal over the final seven minutes of the first half and to just six points during that stretch. The Phoenix used an 11-2 run to open up a seven-point lead. Christian Hairston scored four straight, while Eddy add five during the sprut, including a 3-pointer from the right side to push Elon’s lead to 37-30 with 3:11 left. The Phoenix led 39-32 at the intermission, limiting W&M to 35.7 percent (10-of-28) shooting and hitting six 3-pointers of its own.

Elon extended its advantage to as many as nine points in the opening minutes of the second half. Dmitri Thompson knocked down a pair of free throws 25 seconds into the second half to push the margin to nine, and the cushion again reached the mark, 44-35, following a Samson 3-pointer with 18:19 left.

W&M clawed its way back and finally pulled even with nine minutes remaining thanks to a 7-1 spurt sparked by the senior duo of Tarpey and Sheldon. Tarpey knocked down a 3-pointer from the left side off a pass from Sheldon and drew the foul. His unconventional four-point play cut the deficit to two midway through the final half. After an Elon free throw, Sheldon converted an old-fashion three-point play in the post, knotting the game at 57.

Samson answered with a 3-pointer off an offensive rebound on the ensuing Phoenix possession, and the margin remained three, 63-60, after Dainan Swoope and Prewitt traded triples. W&M scored four-straight points thanks to the play of Tot to take its first lead of the second half. He found Sheldon for a lay-up and then used his size driving the left side of the lane to hit a leaner to put W&M in front, 64-63.

The Tribe closes out the regular season on the road at James Madison on Saturday afternoon in a game that will be broadcast nationally on the NBC Sports Network. The game carries at 2:30 p.m., from Harrisonburg, Va., with Mike Corey and Ron Thompson on the call.

Tribe fans can also catch the men’s basketball action over the Tribe Radio Network with Andrew Phillips 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.