Wilmington, N.C. – The milestones continued for the William and Mary men’s basketball team in the regular season finale on Saturday night as the Tribe defeated UNC Wilmington, 62-51, at Trask Coliseum.
W&M registered the program’s third 20-win season since 1951-52 and in the process won its school-record 10th road game. The Green and Gold also locked up the No. 3 seed and a first-round bye in the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament with its victory over the Seahawks.
Sophomore forward Quinn McDowell led all scorers with 23 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the floor and 4-of-6 from 3-point range. Senior guard David Schneider turned in an all-around impressive performance as he registered his second double-double of the year with 15 points and 10 rebounds to go along with a team-best four assists and two steals. Junior forward Marcus Kitts dominated the glass for the College with 10 rebounds.
The Tribe hit four of its first five shots to jump to a 10-3 lead on Schneider’s second 3-pointer of the game at the 16:29 mark. UNCW cut the deficit to 10-9 on back-to-back 3-pointers from Darion Jeralds and Ahmad Grant.
It would be the Tribe defense that would step up, holding the Seahawks scoreless for a seven-minute stretch in sparking a 14-0 run. McDowell highlighted the run with 11 points, including three straight triples to give W&M a 24-9 cushion with 10:38 left.
UNCW answered back with eight straight points to close the gap to 24-17. Wolf started things with a fast-break conventional 3-point play, before Darryl Felder hit a 3-pointer from the right corner. Grant capped the run with a driving baseline dunk at the 6:55 mark.
On the play though, he was whistled for a technical foul for slapping the backboard, and the Tribe scored five straight points to push the lead back to 12 points at 29-17. Senior forward Steven Hess, who finished with six points and six rebounds, capped the run with a pair of buckets in the paint, including an emphatic two-handed dunk.
Five straight points by Chad Tomko cut the Tribe lead to seven with 3:31 remaining. The Seahawks trailed by eight points into the final minute of the first half, but on the final Tribe possession, Schneider found Kitts for a dunk before the halftime horn to stretch the lead to 38-28 at the intermission. The Tribe connected on 53.8 percent (14-of-26) from the floor, including a sizzling 8-of-12 from 3-point range in jumping out to the 10-point halftime advantage.
UNCW cut the lead to 42-34 on a follow-up dunk by Keith Rendleman five minutes into the second half. W&M again ratcheted up the defensive pressure and held the Seahawks without a field goal for eight minutes. An 8-1 Tribe run pushed the lead to its largest at 50-35 with 9:36 remaining. Senior guard Sean McCurdy capped the W&M spurt with two free throws and a jumper from the right wing to force a UNCW timeout.
The Seahawks could get no closer than six points, 55-49, the rest of the way following a Dominique Lacy 3-pointer with 57 seconds remaining. W&M though pulled out its 20th victory of the year as Schneider and McDowell combined to hit 10 of W&M’s final 12 free throws to pull out the 11-point victory.
The 20-win season marks the sixth in W&M school history and the program’s first since 1997-98. The College bettered the school record of nine road wins held by the 1949-50 team.
W&M finished the game shooting 40 percent (20-of-50) from the floor and 38.1 percent (8-of-21) from 3-point range. The Green and Gold was also 14-of-21 from the charity stripe and held a 41-38 advantage on the glass. The Tribe defense was just as impressive, holding UNCW to just 31.6 (18-of-57) from the floor and 31 percent (9-of-29) from 3-point range.
The Tribe finished with a 12-6 CAA record and garnered the No. 3 seed in the league tournament, which is slated for March 5-8 at the Richmond Coliseum in Richmond, Va. The Green and Gold will meet the winner of No. 6-seeded Drexel and No. 11-seeded James Madison in the quarterfinals at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 6.
W&M fans can catch the action over the Tribe Radio Network, 92.3FM The Tide and 107.9 BACHfm, with Jay Colley, Bill McDonald and Charlie Woollum on the call. The broadcast can be heard over the Internet as well as TribeAthletics.com.