Opening at home for the first time since 2005, the William and Mary men’s basketball team used an 18-2 run early in the second half in rolling to a 69-51 victory over Hampton to kickoff the 2012-13 campaign on Friday night. The Green and Gold’s three-headed scoring monster of sophomore Marcus Thornton and juniors Tim Rusthoven and Brandon Britt propelled to the Tribe to its ninth home-opening win in head coach Tony Shaver’s 10 seasons.
Thornton led the Tribe with 24 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including a sizzling 6-of-9 from 3-point range. His six triples were a career high and tied him for the ninth-best single-game total in W&M history. Rusthoven was 7-of-12 from the floor, finishing with 18 points and seven rebounds to go along with a career-high three steals. Britt scored 17 points on 5-of-8 from the floor and 7-of-9 from the free throw line, while adding four assists compared to just one turnover. Senior Matt Rum topped the Tribe with a career-high seven assists, and junior Kyle Gaillard, who returned to the Tribe lineup after missing last season due to injury, led the College on the glass with eight rebounds.
After Hampton took an early lead, the Tribe used an 11-2 run, culminating in a pair of Thornton free throws to take its first advantage at 13-9 with 12:49 remaining in the opening half. Back-to-back 3-pointers from Thornton and Gaillard sparked the W&M spurt. Hampton cut the Tribe cushion to one, 21-20, on a Ke’Ron Brown lay-up with under four minutes left, before the College scored eight of the half’s final 10 points to take a 29-22 advantage to the locker room. Freshman Terry Tarpey knocked down his first collegiate 3-pointer during the run.
A Rusthoven 3-point play to start the second half push W&M’s cushion to double-digits for the first time. The lead was just nine, 39-30, though with 16:44 remaining when the Tribe seized control of the contest with a momentum grabbing run. The Green and Gold held the Pirates to just one field goal over a near eight-minute stretch in putting together an 18-2 spurt.
Thornton scored eight points during the run, including a pair of 3-pointers, the second of which came on the backend of back-to-back triples with Rum to extend the lead to 21 points with 11:21 remaining. Rusthoven followed up a strong lay-up in the post by pulling down a defensive rebound and finding Britt to start the fastbreak. Britt’s transition lay-up at the midway point of the second half gave W&M its largest advantage at 57-32. HU closed to within 12 points with 5:13 remaining, but Thornton answered with one of his six 3-pointers and the Tribe cruised to its largest home-opening win since 2006.
The Green and Gold dished out 20 assists as a team on its 22 made field goals. W&M shot 46.8 percent from the floor (22-of-47), while drilling nine 3-pointers at a 42.9 percent clip (9-of-21). Defensively, the Tribe limited Hampton to just 31.7 percent (19-of-60) from the field and 2-of-16 from 3-point range. The Pirates were led by 10 points apeice from De’Vaughn Maxwell and Ke’Ron Brown. Maxwell also added a team-high nine rebounds.
The Tribe returns to action on Monday, Nov. 12, when it faces another instate foe this time on the road at Liberty. The game will be televised on the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN) and will also be available over the Internet at ESPN3.com. Tribe fans can follow the action on the Tribe Radio Network with Jay Colley, Charlie Woollum and Bill McDonald on the call. The Tide 92.3 FM in Williamsburg is the flagship station of the Tribe Radio Network and the broadcast can also be heard on TribeAthletics.com.