WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – Behind a career-high 33 points from sophomore Justin Pierce, the William & Mary men's basketball team rolled to an 83-66 victory over Delaware on Saturday afternoon at Kaplan Arena. The Tribe (16-9, 9-5 CAA) celebrated its fourth-annual Gold Rush Game, played in conjunction with W&M's Charter Day Weekend, in grand fashion before a season-high 5,825 fans, which is the most to see a CAA game this season.
After a hot Delaware (11-16, 4-10 CAA) start that included hitting six of its first seven shots, the Tribe seized control of the game with a 15-2 run. Pierce, who had a personal one-on-one match-up going with the Blue Hen's Ryan Allen in the first half, tallied seven of the Green and Gold's points during the run as part of 23 in the first 20 minutes. Allen matched the Tribe sophomore with 23 first-half points as well, hitting 6-of-9 from 3-point range.
As part of the 15-2 run, W&M scored nine-straight points to flip a five-point deficit into a 29-25 lead following an Oliver Tot 3-pointer with 7:16 left in the opening half. After an Eric Carter bucket, W&M scored six in a row, punctuated by a Pierce 3-pointer to extend the lead to 35-27 and force a Blue Hen timeout. W&M's lead reached as much as 12, 43-31, in the opening 20 minutes on a Matt Milon 3-pointer with two and a half minutes remaining. In total, the Tribe shot 66.7 percent (16-of-24) in the first half.
The Green and Gold put to rest any ideas of a Delaware comeback out of the gates in the second frame. W&M used an 11-2 run in the opening 3:05 to extend the margin to 17, 58-41, on pair of Pierce free throws. Sophomore Nathan Knight scored the first five of the run, while Pierce added four.
W&M's lead ballooned to as much as 28, 77-49, thanks to a Pierce fast-break dunk off a dish from senior David Cohn, who finished with 11 assists on the night. The story of the final 20 minutes for the Tribe was its defense. The Green and Gold limited UD to 31.6 percent (9-of-29) shooting, including an 0-of-5 effort from 3, in the second half.