WILLIAMSBURG — William & Mary men’s basketball stymied a potent Army attack and rallied for a 76-67 win on Saturday afternoon at Kaplan Arena.
The Tribe held one of the country’s top offenses nearly 30 points below its season average. Army (2-2) entered Saturday’s tilt ranked in the national top 10 in scoring at nearly 95 points per game and field goal shooting at 54%. The Tribe held the Black Knights to 42.3% (22-of-52) shooting and 34.6% (9-of-26) from 3-point range.
Offensively, W&M (2-3) attacked the rim at will with both offensive rebounding and drawing fouls to get to the free throw line at a high clip. The Green and Gold pulled down 14 offensive rebounds and turned them into 17 second-chance points. At the free throw line, W&M connected on 28-of-39 (71.8%), including 20-of-29 in the decisive second half. The 28 made free throws and 39 attempts are the most for the Tribe since 2020.
Junior Ben Wight matched a career-high with 21 points, knocking down 9-of-11 at the free throw line, and just missed a double-double behind a game-high nine rebounds. Graduate student Anders Nelson added 14 points and six assists, while classmate Chris Mullins had 11 points on 9-of-13 at the free throw line. Junior Jake Milkereit provided a big lift off the bench, scoring 10 points and adding six rebounds.
The Tribe trailed by two at the half and used a 14-1 run early in the second to surge in front. Thanks to large part to its defense, W&M flipped a two-point deficit to an 11-point lead, 55-44, with 11:24 left. During the stretch, the Tribe held Army without a field goal (0-of-4) and forced five turnovers.
Mullins led the run, scoring seven points, including five at the free throw line. He tied the game at 43 with a pair at the charity stripe, before his fast-break lay-up off a Nelson pass put W&M in front for good.
The lead reached as many as 12, 58-46, midway through the second half on Gabe Dorsey’s third triple of the game.
Army drew as close as four, 67-63, on a Chris Mann lay-up with 3:22 remaining, but the Tribe responded with six in a row on the way to the nine-point victory. Wight scored in the post and drew the foul, converting the free throw for an old-fashion 3-point play, before Nelson canned a 3-pointer to make it a 10-point game, 73-63, with just 1:47 left.
As a team, the Tribe recorded 12 steals on the evening led by three apiece from Nelson and sophomore Matteus Case. Mullins, who had two steals, drew the defensive assignment of preseason All-Patriot League guard Jalen Rucker and limited him to just 4-of-12 from the floor, including 2-of-7 from 3, to go with four turnovers.
W&M trailed by as many as eight points, 27-19, with six minutes left in the opening half, but closed to within a bucket, 38-36, at the break. Dorsey, who was 3-of-5 from distance on the day, connected on a corner 3-pointer with 44 seconds remaining, and Nelson drove to the hoop for two in the closing seconds to slice the margin to just two at the intermission.
The Tribe returns to action when it hosts Radford on Wednesday, Nov. 23. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m. from Kaplan Arena and the game will be televised regionally in the state of Virginia on Cox YurView. The contest will be streamed online at FloHoops.