William and Mary took the court Wednesday trying to start 4-0 for the first time in 50 years. Sloppy play and Miami University of Ohio’s stifling defense prevented that, however, as the Tribe fell 72-59.
From the opening tipoff, the RedHawks (2-2) pressed the College (3-1) the length of the court. The Tribe struggled to settle into any half-court offensive rhythm and ultimately committed 18 turnovers.
The contest was up-tempo from the start, as both squads fell into a run-and-shoot mentality. The teams stayed close, trading buckets, but junior forward Tim Rusthoven, who scored five points, failed to establish a presence in the post as the RedHawks dominated in the paint.
Just before half, the College’s athletic backcourt sprang to life, carrying the team’s offense. Sophomore guard Marcus Thornton and junior guard Brandon Britt found success in transition, but the RedHawks took a 26-24 point lead into the half.
Miami (Ohio) came out on fire to start the second half, as a 10-3 run forced head coach Tony Shaver to call a timeout. Shaver, though, couldn’t find an answer for the Redhawks press.
Rusthoven remained a non-factor in the second half, fouling out without a basket. Thornton and Britt continued to make off-balance shots to keep the game within a ten-point margin, but the Tribe’s supporting cast couldn’t do enough to keep things close.
Thornton finished with 15 points while Britt would end the night with 17. Both turned the ball over four times. As a unit, the Tribe shot 45 percent from the floor, but only converted nine of 17 free throw attempts.
As the clock wound down, the College’s worn out defense couldn’t make enough stops just as the offense could not consistently turn possessions into points. Miami (Ohio) rode it’s early run in the second half to victory, as the College fell to 3-1.
The Tribe takes to the court again Friday, travelling to Winston Salem, N.C. to play Wake Forest University.