Tribe Clinches #3 Spot in CAA Tournament, Defeats Northeastern 81-67
It’s been a long time since William & Mary Tribe Men’s Basketball (17-10, 9-5) has had a high seed in the CAA Tournament.
With the Tribe’s 81-67 Senior Day win over Northeastern and UNCW’s double overtime 57-55 defeat of the College of Charleston on Saturday, the Tribe has locked up at least the #3 seed in the upcoming CAA Men’s Basketball Championship. If the Tribe wins out for the rest of the year, and Towson loses out, the Tribe will get the #2 seed.
“A lot of guys performed well for us,” said Tribe head coach Tony Shaver. Marcus Thornton had 25 points and four assists for the Tribe. Tim Rusthoven had 12 points and 5 assists, and Brandon Britt kicked in with 11 points and three rebounds.
Starting for the Tribe was 5/6 of the senior class, Britt, Rusthoven, Julian Boatner, Ben Whitlatch, and Fred Heldring.
The Green & Gold took off with a 10-3 lead at the 14:41 mark, thanks to two threes from Thornton, one from Britt, and one free throw for Rusthoven. The Tribe then went on a 16-11 run to make the score 26-14 with six minutes remaining. Northeastern would not go away, however, and the Huskies went on a 10-8 run to close out the first half. At halftime, the score was W&M 33, Northeastern 24. Thornton had 11 points in the first half, and Daniel Dixon had six.
For the second half, it was almost all Tribe. William and Mary went on a 15-12 run to start the half and get out to a 49-36 lead with 13:52 left in the game. The Huskies weren’t done yet, and they sparked one last furious comeback. Junior forward Reggie Spencer led a 12-3 run for NU with six points, and was helped out with three pointers by David Walker and T.J Williams. That would be as close as the Huskies would get, and after Coach Shaver called a 30 second timeout to stop the run, the Tribe would outscore Northeastern for the rest of the game, 28-19. The final score was Tribe 81, Huskies 67. The Tribe led for the entire game. For the seniors, Kyle Gaillard had two points and five rebounds, Fred Heldring had two rebounds, Julian Boatner had 8 points, and Ben Whitlatch had one board.
While Saturday was Senior Day for the Tribe, the Green and Gold isn’t by any means done at Kaplan Arena. The Tribe will be playing their final home game of the regular season on Wednesday when they host Hofstra at 7:00. A win would give the Tribe their 18th win, the second highest win total in sixteen years. Also, as of Friday, the Tribe had the 133rd best RPI in the nation. If the Tribe does not win the CAA Tournament or receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, they are still almost certainly a shoo-in to make a postseason tournament. Currently, the Tribe is in a position to make the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT), a 32-team tournament, but Brandon Britt has other ideas.
“I definitely think it would be a failure [to not make the NCAA Tournament}. To me at least," said Britt. "I don't want to make the CIT. We have to make the tournament and I have faith that we will. [We] just have to keep praying and playing ball.”
Tickets to the Tribe’s showdown with Hofstra can be bought through TicketReturn.com. The game will be on the radio at 92.3 The Tide FM and 107.9 Bach FM. Live video will be available through TribeAthletics.TV, along with live audio and stats.