The William and Mary men’s basketball team controlled the boards on its way to a 74-63 win over South Carolina State on Friday evening in the opening round of the Liberty Thanksgiving Classic at Vines Center. The junior duo of David Schneider and Danny Sumner each scored over the 20-point mark for the third time in the last four games to lead the Tribe to the victory. The Green and Gold evened its season ledger at 3-3, while SCSU fell to 3-2.
W&M dominated the glass against a team that came in with exceptional rebounding numbers on the year.
Schneider led the Tribe in scoring for the second time this season, pouring in 22 points, including 13 in the second half. Sumner became the first W&M player in 16 years to scored 20 or more points in four straight games as the 6-7 wing tallied 20 on 8-of-15 from the field, while adding five rebounds. Sophomore forward Marcus Kitts turned in an impressive performance off the bench, finishing with a career-high 11 points on 4-of-5 from the field, while pulling down four rebounds and dishing out three assists in 16 minutes of action.
Leading by eight (35-27) at the intermission, the Tribe came out of the locker room and quickly extended its advantage to nine points, 38-29, as freshman Kendrix Brown drilled a wide-open 3-pointer from the top of the key a minute into the second stanza. SCSU held the Tribe without a field goal over the next four and a half minutes as the Bulldogs cut into the W&M cushion with a 7-0 run. Jason Johnson had a chance at a conventional 3-point play as he scored a driving lay-up and was fouled. He missed the attempt from the charity stripe, but his bucket cut the Tribe lead to 38-36 with 14:45 remaining.
The Green and Gold responded with a nine-point spurt highlighted by the post play of Kitts. Schneider put a halt to the Bulldog run with a trey from the left corner, before Sumner converted on a driving lay-up off the fast-break. It was then Kitts who went to work. The sophomore forward scored on the break off a nice feed from sophomore guard Matt McFadden, before scoring on a jump hook in the paint. His final bucket of the run pushed the W&M advantage to 47-36 at the 12:32 mark.
The College maintained its double-digit cushion at 10, 54-44, following a Schneider trifecta from the left side. Four straight points in the paint from SCSU’s Jason Flagler narrowed the gap to 54-48 with 6:11 remaining. With W&M leading, 60-53, following a steal and fast-break dunk from Jimmy Williams for SCSU, the Tribe used a 10-2 run to push the lead to its largest at 15 and put the game out of reach. Freshman Quinn McDowell highlighted the run with a pair of back-door buckets, including a conventional 3-point play. He also made a steal on the defensive end that led to a fast-break lay-up from Sumner and gave the College a 70-55 lead with less than two minutes remaining.
W&M finished the game with double-digit 3-pointers for the third time this season, drilling 10 triples in the win. The Green and Gold also shot 48.1 percent from the field, while dishing out 18 assists. McFadden and Brown joined Schneider in finishing with a team-high four assists apiece compared to just one turnover. Schneider and Brown also pulled down five rebounds each in the win. McDowell chipped in nine points off the bench for the Green and Gold.
The Tribe will play for the Liberty Thanksgiving Classic crown on Saturday, Nov. 29, at 8:15 p.m. against the host Flames. LU defeated Coker, 88-66, in the opening game of the classic on Friday evening. Liberty entered the tournament off a 86-82 upset of instate foe Virginia and is 3-1 on the season. The W&M-Liberty affair can be heard on 92.3fm The Tide and 107.9fm WBACH, the Tribe Radio Network, with Jay Colley and Charlie Woollum on the call.
The broadcast is available over the Internet at TribeAthletics.com.