Trifecta: W&M's 3-pointers spark third straight win

Trifecta: W&M's 3-pointers spark third straight win
February 18, 2013, 10:45 pm
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WILLIAMSBURG, Va. - Behind another lights-out shooting performance, the William and Mary men's basketball blitzed the Georgia State Panthers, 75-63, at Kaplan Arena on Monday night. The Tribe, which played its fourth game in eight days, shot 57.8 percent from the floor and was 12-of-18 from 3-point range in winning its third straight contest. The Green and Gold improved to 12-14 overall and 6-9 in CAA play, while the Panthers, who entered the game on a two-game winning streak, including a 78-60 win at George Mason on Saturday, dropped to 14-15 on the year and 9-7 in league action.

Junior guard Brandon Britt continued his impressive play with a game-high 20 points on 7-of-11 from the floor, including a career-best 6-of-8 from 3-point range, to go along with three steals. Senior guard Matt Rum poured in a career-high 16 points on 4-of-6 from 3-point range, while junior Kyle Gaillard just missed a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds. Junior Tim Rusthoven and sophomore Marcus Thornton rounded out the Tribe's five double-digit scorers with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Rusthoven chipped in five rebounds and five assists, while Thornton added four assists and a pair of 3-pointers.

After Georgia State took a 5-3 lead less than a minute and a half into the game, W&M ripped off a 13-2 run to seize control. Britt and Rum knocked down back-to-back 3's to put the Tribe on top for good. Following a pair of buckets from Rusthoven and sophomore Tom Schalk, Rum capped the spurt with this third 3-pointer of the opening seven minutes, giving the Tribe a 16-7 lead with 13:44 left in the first half.

The lead reached double-digits for the first time on a Thornton triple from the right wing. After a James Vincent hook in the paint, Gaillard found Britt for back-to-back 3-pointers, extending the W&M margin to 31-16 with 5:55 left and forcing a GSU timeout.

The Green and Gold advantage ballooned to 16, 36-20, on another Britt trey at the 4:11 mark, before the Panthers closed to 11, 38-27, at the break. The Tribe shot a sizzling 62.5 percent from the floor in the opening half, while hitting 8-of-10 from long range to stake itself to a double-digit first-half cushion.

W&M continued its torrid shooting from long range to start the second 20 minutes. Rum, Britt and Thornton canned three-straight 3-pointers in the opening 1:15 of the second half, extending the Green and Gold lead to 18 at 47-29.

Georgia State would not go quietly though, putting together a 15-1 run. A Markus Crider dunk closed the gap to single-digits, before freshman R.J. Hunter drilled back-to-back 3-pointers. His second from long range cut the margin to 48-44 with 14:44 remaining.

W&M answered the bell with a 9-2 run, pushing the lead back to double-digits. Thornton found Gaillard for a beautiful cutting lay-up, which turned in to a conventional 3-point play after the Tribe junior absorbed the contact and knocked down the subsequent free throw. Gaillard hit a fade-away eight-footer, before Thornton finished in traffic to push the lead to 57-46 with 11:25 remaining.

After Georgia State closed the gap to nine, 59-50, with 8:28 remaining, the Tribe reeled off nine straight points to once again take its largest lead of the contest at 18 and put the game out of reach. Freshman Sean Sheldon started the run with a lay-up through contact, before Rusthoven scored in the post as well. Thornton knocked down a pair from the charity stripe, and Britt capped the spurt with a 3-pointer from the right corner to beat the shot clock. His sixth triple of the game gave W&M a 68-50 lead with 5:53 remaining, and the Panthers could get no closer than the final margin of 12.

For the fourth time in the last six games, W&M shot better than 50 percent from the field, hitting at a 57.8-percent (26-of-45) clip. The Tribe knocked down double-digit 3-pointers for the fourth time in the last five games, hitting on 12-of-18 from deep. The 66.7 percent from long range was the second-best in school history, trailing only the 71.4 percent clip (10-of-14) from 3-pointer range at George Mason in 1993. The Green and Gold finished with 18 assists on its 26 made field goals and was 11-of-14 from the free throw line (78.6 percent).

Georgia State finished the night at 43.5 percent (27-of-62) from the field. The Panthers entered the game ranked second in the CAA at 36.7 percent from 3-point range, including a 39.5-percent clip in league games, but the Tribe limited GSU to just 6-of-24 (25 percent) from distance. Georgia State was also just 3-of-9 from the free throw line, but held a 31-29 advantage on the glass. Hunter led the Panthers with 15 points, while junior Manny Atkins just missed a double-double with 11 points and nine rebounds.

The Tribe is back in action as it travels to George Mason on Saturday, Feb. 23, at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Va. The contest holds a 4 p.m. start time and will be televised on Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic


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