WILLIAMSBURG, Va. - The William and Mary men's basketball team fell to visiting James Madison, 69-67, on Senior Night at Kaplan Arena. The Tribe shot 76 percent in the first half on the way to a 16-point halftime advantage, but the Dukes put together a furious second-half rally capped by a pair of Devon Moore free throws with 19.1 seconds remaining. W&M fell to 13-16 overall and 7-11 in league action, while JMU upped its mark to 17-14 on the year and 11-7 in CAA play.
Prior to tip-off the Tribe honored its five-member senior class of manager Ryan Brown, Brett Goodloe, Doug Howard, Andrew Pavloff and Matt Rum. The four Tribe senior players earned starting nods for the Green and Gold and pushed W&M out to a 5-0 advantage before exiting.
Junior Tim Rusthoven and sophomore Marcus Thornton led the Tribe with 20 points apiece. Rusthoven shared team-high honors with eight rebounds, while connecting on 10-of-13 from the field. Senior Matt Rum and junior Brandon Britt each scored nine points, while Rum added eight rebounds and moved into a tie with former standout Quinn McDowell as the Tribe's all-time games played leader with his 126 career appearance. Junior Kyle Gaillard chipped in a team and career-high seven assists.
The Tribe scored the first eight points of the game. Rum knocked down a triple off a dish from Goodloe, before Howard drove the right side of the lane for a scoop lay-up at the 17:33 mark. A 3-pointer from Thornton and the Tribe lead was eight less than three minutes into the opening half.
Back-to-back 3-pointers from A.J. Davis pulled James Madison even at 19 with 10:46 remaining in the first half. The Tribe lead was 24-23 at the eight-minute mark, before W&M opened up its largest lead of the game with a 20-2 run. Thornton started the surge with back-to-back 3-pointers forcing a Duke timeout.
In total, the Tribe hit seven straight shot from the floor. Britt drove the middle of the lane on the break to push the Green and Gold advantage to 40-25, forcing another JMU timeout with 3:42 left in the half. A deep Thornton jumper extended the cushion to 17, before a Terry Tarpey tip-in gave the Tribe a 44-25 lead with 2:07 remaining.
W&M's advantage was 47-31 at the half thanks in large part to the Tribe's 76 percent (19-of-25) shooting from the floor, including a 6-of-8 effort from 3-point range. Thornton had 19 first-half points on 7-of-8 from the floor and 5-of-6 from 3-point range.
The Tribe lead remained 16, 51-35, following a Rusthoven lay-up off a dish from Gaillard less than four minutes into the second half. JMU responded with a 10-2 run to close the gap to single digits. An Alioune Diouf conventional 3-point play narrowed the margin to 10, before an A.J. Davis' fast-break lay-up made it 53-45 with 10:25 remaining.
Back-to-back buckets from Rusthoven pushed the W&M lead to back to double-digits at 57-45 less than a minute later, but the Dukes continued to chip away at the Tribe lead. Ron Curry and Andre Nation hit consecutive 3-pointers to cut the deficit to 60-57 with 4:39 remaining.
The lead was again three after a pair of Moore free throw, before a Brandon Britt 3-pointer from the left side of the key gave the Tribe a six-point margin, 65-59, with just 2:38 remaining. James Madison responded with eight straight points to take its first lead of the night. Davis almost immediately answered the Tribe triple with a fast-break dunk, before Nation scored four straight points, including a baseline drive for a dunk to tie the game at 65. A Nation steal on the defensive end led to a fast-break lay-up for Davis putting JMU on top for the first time with 1:07 left.
Rusthoven pulled down an offensive board and stuck back for a lay-up to tie the game at 67 with 48 seconds remaining. With the clock winding down, Moore drove the middle of the lane, drawing a foul. Following a delay as Moore was injured on the play, he calmly stepped to the line and made both to put the Dukes back on top, 69-67, with just 19.1 seconds remaining. The Tribe's final chance at the win came from Thornton, but his 3-pointer from the right side was long and JMU pulled down the rebound to preserve the come-from-behind victory.
W&M finished the night shooting 59.6 percent (28-of-47) from the floor, its sixth game of 50 percent or better in the last eight games. The Tribe connected on seven 3-pointers and dished out 15 assists, while holding a 35-23 advantage on the glass.
James Madison shot 43.1 percent (25-of-58) on the night, hitting eight 3-pointers and shooting 84.6 percent (11-of-13) from the free throw line. The Dukes also tallied 12 steals on the evening. Davis, who had 27 in the last meeting with W&M, erupted for a career-high 36 on Saturday night. He was 15-of-23 from the floor and 5-of-10 from 3-point range, while adding four steals and three blocked shots. Curry chipped in 10 points, while Moore added eight points and six assists.
W&M and James Madison will play for a third time this season in the quarterfinals of the 2013 CAA Championship, presented by Jani-King, on Saturday, March 9. Game time is slated for 8:30 p.m. at the Richmond Coliseum. The contest will be televised on Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic Plus.