Jul. 29, 2014

Men’s basketball: 2014 CAA Tournament

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March 1, 2014

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Boasting an 18-11 (10-6 CAA) record at the end of regular season play, William and Mary enters the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament as the No. 3 seed and brings with it high expectations.

Guards Brandon Britt and Julian Boatner, senior big man Tim Rusthoven and senior forward Kyle Gaillard highlight a class of seniors still chasing an elusive bid to the National Collegiate Athletic Association Tournament. Junior guard and first-team all-conference Marcus Thornton  and sophomore forward Terry Tarpey lead a crop of newcomers that includes freshmen forwards Daniel Dixon and CAA Rookie of the Year Omar Prewitt.

All told, head coach Tony Shaver knows his squad has as good of a chance as any to win the CAA title.

“To me, the goal has to be to do the best we can with this team, make ourselves as good as we can possibly be,” Shaver said in November. “Now, I think every guy in that locker room will tell you they want to contend for the CAA championship. If we can do that, only time will tell. But it’s definitely in the back of everyone’s mind.”

Follow @FlatHatSports for live coverage from Baltimore Arena, and check back here for tournament updates.

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CAA FINAL : No. 3 William and Mary 74, No. 1 Delaware 75

The back of the ring never clanged so loud.

Junior guard Marcus Thornton’s last second shot goes awry, as the No. 3 College (20-12, 10-7 CAA) falls to No. 1 Delaware (25-9, 15-2) in the Colonial Athletic Association Championship game Monday night. With the win, Delaware claims the CAA title and automatic bid to the National Collegiate Athletic Association Championship. [VIDEO]

The College returns to Williamsburg having beaten No. 6 Charleston and No. 2 Towson in the CAA Tournament. Click here for the full story.

CAA FINAL PREVIEW: No. 3 William and Mary vs. No. 1 Delaware

Remember William and Mary led by six at halftime during their first meeting with regular season champion and top-seeded Delaware. Know it is possible.

Remember that the No. 3 Tribe (20-11, 10-6 CAA) lost both of its games to Delaware in the regular season, including a home blowout Jan. 29. Know it will be difficult.

Tim Rusthoven

Senior center Tim Rusthoven celebrates following the No. 3 College’s quarterfinal win over No. 6 Charleston. The Tribe faces No. 1 Delaware in the CAA title game Monday night. Tip is set for 7 p.m. COURTESY PHOTO / TRIBE ATHLETICS

While junior guard Marcus Thornton and senior guard Brandon Britt will be asked to key the Tribe’s offensive, look for the defense to frustrate Delaware. Head coach Tony Shaver has senior forward Kyle Gaillard, Sheldon and sophomore forward Terry Tarpey all excelling defensively.

As has been the case all season, the matchup pits the three-point shooting, rebound deficient (at times), transition focused College against a top-drawer opponent. Only this time, a conference championship and first-ever bid to the National Collegiate Athletic Association are on the line.

After two improbable wins, the Tribe faces its toughest test tonight. Fans in the Williamsburg area can view the game on NBCSN (Cox cable channel 34) or attend the William and Mary Student Assembly hosted watch party in the Commonwealth Auditorium.

@FlatHatSports will have live courtside coverage. Check back with Flathatnews.com for full analysis after the game. Click here for the full story.

SEMIFINAL ROUND: No. 3 William and Mary 75, No. 2 Towson 71

An auspicious start reverberated through 40 minute of play Sunday night, as junior guard Marcus Thornton opened and closed the game with the ball in his hands. Fueled by Thornton’s game-high 21 points, No. 3 William and Mary outlasted No. 2 Towson 75-71 to advance to the Colonial Athletic Association championship game, where it faces No. 1 Delaware at 7 p.m. [VIDEO]

Thornton rattled home a three-point shot in the game’s opening possession, and didn’t slow from there. A combination of pull-up jumpers, cuts to the basket and a bevy of long range shots led to 21 points on 7 of 13 shooting. With the game on the line, it was Thornton hauling in the game-sealing defensive rebound.

Framed as a matchup of Towson’s CAA Player of the Year Jerrelle Benimon and the Tribe’s defense, Thornton — an all-CAA first-team selection — stole the show. Towson couldn’t find an answer to the College’s top threat. Meanwhile, senior guard Brandon Britt added 16 points on 6 of 10 shooting.

All told, the College and Towson both shot 50 percent from beyond the arc. The Tribe converted four more treys, however, and turned in a 55.1 percent clip from the floor (compared to the Tiger’s 50 percent rate).

Ten ties and eight lead changes saw the Tribe advance to the CAA final; a win in the championship would grant the College it’s first-ever berth into the National Collegiate Athletic Association Tournament. The Tribe is one of five original Division I programs to have never advanced to the NCAA Tournament. Click here for the full story.   

SEMIFINAL ROUND PREVIEW: No. 3 William and Mary vs. No. 2 Towson

Towson enters Sunday’s tilt with the CAA Player of the Year, senior forward Jerrelle Benimon, and confidence following a season sweep of the Tribe. Towson ran away with an 85-70 win over the College Feb. 15 before Mike Burwall’s shot with 1.3 seconds remaining sent the Tigers past the Tribe 70-68 March 1.

While facing the league’s best player and the pre-season favorite to win the conference for a third time appears a tall task, Shaver relishes the challenge. “You know what? Towson’s really good, but so are we,” Shaver said following Saturday’s quarterfinal win. “We look forward to the opportunity.”

History, however, leans on the side of the College. The Tribe has seven tournament wins since 2008 – tops in the CAA – and has won its previous two semifinal appearances: a 2008 win over No. 1 Virginia Commonwealth and a 2010 win over No. 2 Northeastern.

NBC Sports Network duo Mike Corey and Ron Thompson have the call at 5 p.m. The game will be aired nationally on NBCSN (channel 34 for William and Mary cable). Follow @FlatHatSports for court side coverage.

QUARTERFINAL ROUND: No. 3 William and Mary 70, No. 6 Charleston 59

Brandon Britt

Senior guard Brandon Britt reacts after converting a lay up in Saturday night’s CAA quarterfinal win over Charleston. COURTESY PHOTO / TRIBE ATHLETICS

Playing in the venerable Baltimore Arena, the College rallied from a 12-point halftime deficit to down Charleston 70-59 Saturday night. The Tribe outscored the Cougars 42-19 in the second half, ensuring a Sunday semifinal matchup with Towson in the Colonial Athletic Association men’s basketball tournament.

It was senior guard Brandon Britt converting in the lane; it was senior forward Tim Rusthoven diving on the floor for a key offensive rebound in the final minute; it was freshman forwards Omar Prewitt and Daniel Dixon producing quality minutes down the stretch. It was enough. Click here for the full story.

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