The energy of the annual Gold Rush game pulsed through Kaplan Arena on Saturday afternoon, and it was no more evident than between the white lines. William & Mary mauled Delaware defensively to the tune of its best effort against a league opponent in three years. Offensively, the rookie class jumped started the Tribe (9-14, 5-6 CAA) and a balanced attack with four double-digit scorers overwhelmed the short-handed Blue Hens, 84-63, for W&M’s second-straight victory.
The Tribe held Delaware (14-10, 6-5 CAA) to just 33.9 percent (19-of-56) shooting and only 4-of-25 (16 percent) from 3-point range. Freshman Chase Audige led the Tribe in scoring for the third time in the last four games with his first career double-double, finishing with 17 points and 10 rebounds. He added four assists, three steals and two blocks to his stat-stuffing line. Junior Nathan Knight just missed out on a double-double with 17 points, including 15 in the second half, and nine rebounds.
Delaware, who played without forward Eric Carter and his double-double average (17 ppg and 10.4 rpg), jumped out to as much as an eight-point lead just six minutes into the contest. From there, the Green and Gold freshman class took over. The trio of Audige, L.J. Owens and Mekhel Harvey scored seven-straight Tribe points before a Paul Rowley 3-point tied the game at 19. Audige scored 12-straight Tribe points, including a trio of 3-pointers, to put W&M on top for good, 31-23, with 8:14 remaining in the opening half.
Leading by five on the intermission, the Green and Gold eliminated any thought of a Delaware comeback with a 16-3 run to start the second half. Juniors Justin Pierce and Matt Milon each scored five points on the run, before an Owen’s 3-pointer pushed the Tribe lead to 53-35 just seven and a half minutes into the period.
W&M celebrated its fifth-annual Gold Rush Game with a season-best crowd of 4,611. Milon and Pierce each added 13 points to round out the Tribe’s double-digit scorers.
How It Happened
– Ithiel Horton, who led UD with 14 points, helped Delaware out to an early seven-point lead. The Blue Hen rookie capped a 7-0 run with four-straight points to put UD on top. His triple at the 16-minute mark gave him seven-straight and extend the lead to 14-7.
– The Blue Hen lead reached as much as eight on a Matt Veretto 3-pointer, before the Tribe responded with a 7-0 run to pull even at 19. Audige scored on a driving lay-up, before Owens found Harvey for a dunk. Law student Paul Rowley capped the run with a deep left wing 3-pointer to knot the game at 19 with 11:37 remaining.
– After an Allen jumper briefly put the Blue Hens on top, Audige scored 12-straight Tribe points in extending the Tribe run to 19-4. Audige knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers, including the second on the fast break, to give W&M a 31-23 lead and force a Delaware timeout with 8:13 left.
– W&M went nearly six minutes without scoring, and Veretto scored five points in a row to close the gap to three. His old-fashion 3-point play with 2:38 left cut the margin to 31-28.
– The Tribe scored four in a row, including a follow-up dunk from Pierce, to push the lead to seven, but Horton’s driving lay-up in the final minute closed the first-half scoring. W&M held a 37-32 advantage at the half.
– The Green and Gold scored 16 of the first 19 second-half points, including 10 in a row, to extend its lead to double figures for the first time. Pierce followed up a missed W&M 3-pointer with a putback dunk at the 16:43 mark to push the lead to 44-34 and force a UD timeout.
– Milon scored five straight during the 10-0 run to push the margin to 49-34 at the 15:10 mark. The cushion jumped to 18, 53-35, on Owen’s left-wing 3-pointer with 12:32 left. In total, Delaware started the second half just 1-of-9 from the floor.
– W&M scored seven in a row to extend the margin over 20 points. Rowley started the spurt with a top-of-the-key 3-pointer before Knight put back his own miss to give W&M a 62-41 lead with 10:06 remaining.
– The Tribe’s lead reached its largest at 28 points thanks to a 9-0 run. Knight scored six of the nine during the run, including a dunk off an Audige pass, to extend the lead to 71-43 with 8:16 left.
– Ryan Johnson scored the Blue Hens final 12 points of the game, including 6-of-8 from the free throw line, but the visitors drew no closer than the final margin of 21.
Inside the Numbers
– The Tribe’s freshman class scored 24 of its 37 first-half points in giving W&M the lead at the intermission.
– W&M held Delaware to 33.9 percent (19-of-56) shooting, including only 30.8 percent (8-of-26) in the second half.
– The Green and Gold limited Blue Hens to 4-of-25 (16 percent) from 3-point range, including only 1-of-14 (7.1 percent) in the second 20 minutes.
– The Tribe shot 50.9 percent (29-of-57) for the contest, including 52.2 percent (12-of-23) in the first half.
– Delaware scored 15 points off 11 first half W&M turnovers and 18 points overall on 17 Tribe miscues.
– The Green and Gold connected on 10-of-20 from 3-point range, hitting five in each half.
– W&M held a commanding 47-25 advantage on the glass.
– The Tribe dished out 20 assists on its 29 made field games, marking its eighth game of 20 or more assists this season.
W&M won for the seventh time in its last eight games against Delaware, including four straight in Williamsburg … The Tribe improved to 5-0 all-time in Gold Rush games … The Tribe’s defensive field goal percentage of 33.9 percent was the lowest by a CAA opponent since Charleston shot 31.7 percent (19-of-60) on Jan. 14, 2016 … The Tribe has hit double-digit 3-pointers in five of its 11 CAA games … W&M is 90-53 all-time when hitting 10 or more 3-pointers in a game under head coach Tony Shaver … It marked the eighth time the Tribe has hit double-digit 3’s this season … The Green and Gold has dished out 20 or more assists in five of its 11 CAA games … W&M is 6-2 this season and 43-4 over the last nine years when dishing out 20 or more assists in a game … Freshman Chase Audige tallied his first career double-double with a career-high 10 rebounds … Freshman Mehkel Harvey posted career-highs with four points and three blocked shots … W&M’s 50 percent (10-of-20) from 3-point range was a season-high.
– The Tribe hits the road for a pair in the Northeast next week. The Green and Gold heads to Northeastern on Thursday, Feb. 7, for a 7 p.m. tip and travels to Hofstra on Saturday, Feb. 9, at 4 p.m.
– The W&M-NU game will be broadcast on CAA.TV, while the W&M-Hofstra contest will be broadcast online by CBS Sports Digital on CollegeSportsLive.com.
– The contest will be broadcast online at Tribe Athletics TV via Stretch Internet. Tribe fans can catch the men’s basketball action over the Tribe Radio Network with Jay Colley 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.