WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – The William & Mary men's basketball team once again celebrated the Gold Rush Game in grand fashion with an 89-79 win over the College of Charleston on Saturday afternoon inside Kaplan Arena. As part of W&M's Charter Day festivities, applauding the 324th year since the Crown of England granted the royal charter for the Williamsburg institution, the Tribe (14-11, 8-6 CAA) hummed along offensively, shooting 53.3 percent from the field, dishing out 24 assists on 32 made field goals and knocking down 11 three-pointers. The Green and Gold started fast and led Charleston (19-8, 10-4 CAA) throughout in posting its 12th-straight home win.
Senior Omar Prewitt scored a season-high 30 points to lead four Tribe players in doubles figures. He tallied his third career 30-point game on 13-of-19 shooting, including 3-of-6 from 3-point range. Prewitt added seven rebounds, three assists and two steals. Junior Greg Malinowski tallied 16 points on 4-of-7 shooting from 3-point range and tied for team-high rebounding honors with seven. Freshman Nathan Knight tied a career-high with 15 points and six rebounds, while senior Daniel Dixon turned in a 14-point, seven-rebounds, five-assist stat line with zero turnovers. Knight was on 5-of-7 from the field and a perfect 5-of-5 at the free throw line.
The Tribe offense ignited out of the gates, hitting on eight of its first 10 shots. The Green and Gold opened up a double-digit advantage just five minutes into the game thanks to a 16-4 run. Malinowski and Prewitt combined for 14 of the Tribe's first 16 and 20 of its first 26.
Malinowski converted a rare four-point play, knocking down a triple from the right wing, while getting fouled just over three minutes into the tilt. After Malinowski's second trey of the opening five minutes, Prewitt punctuated the run with a steal and fast-break dunk to extend the lead to 18-6 and forced a Charleston timeout at the 15:29 mark.
Amazingly, the Tribe lead never dipped below seven points for the remainder of the contest. A Jarrell Brantley old-fashion three-point play with 7:19 remaining in the opening half narrowed the gap to 32-25. Dixon answered with back-to-back triples as part of a 13-4 run to push the lead to its largest in first half at 16. Knight scored five-straight, including an old-fashion three-point play, as the advantage expanded to 45-29 with 3:21 left.
Despite back-to-back Charleston 3-pointers cutting the margin to 10, W&M scored seven of the half's final nine points, taking a 15-point cushion into the locker room. Malinowski added another three-pointer, before Prewitt's tip-in at the half-time horn gave W&M a 52-37 lead at the break. The Tribe shot 54.5 percent (18-of-33) in the opening 20 minutes, including 7-of-14 from 3-point range.
Two Dixon free throws pushed the Tribe cushion to 17 points less than 30 seconds into the second half. Nick Harris sparked an 8-0 CofC run to close the gap to nine. He scored the final six points during the spurt, including a lay-up at the 17:49 mark to close the gap to 54-45.
The Green and Gold heated back up from the floor, hitting eight-straight shots and 10-of-11 during the stretch to re-establish the double-digit lead. W&M started the sequence with four-straight dunks. Junior Oliver Tot found Knight for back-to-back dunks, before Knight returned the favor to Prewitt for a stuff.
Junior Jack Whitman provided the final dunk of the quartet off a dish from Dixon. On the ensuing Charleston possession, Dixon blocked a Joe Chealey lay-up attempt, pulled down the rebound and started the fast-break finding Prewitt for a lay-up. It capped a run of six-straight Tribe points, pushing the lead to 73-58 at the midway point of the second half.
Five-straight points from the Cougars' Grant Riller, including an old-fashion 3-point play with 4:42, cut the W&M advantage to 10, 82-72. The Green and Gold once again had the answer with seven straight points. Junior David Cohn canned a left wing 3-pointer and Knight scored in the paint. Dixon provided the final topping with a pair of free throws at the 2:56 mark to give W&M a 17-point cushion once again, 89-72.
W&M connected on 32-of-60 (53.3 percent) on the afternoon, shooting better than 50 percent in both halves. The Green and Gold knocked down 11 three-pointers and hit on 40.7 percent from long range against the nation's sixth-best three-point percentage defense. The Green and Gold shot 73.7 percent (14-of-19) from the free throw line and outrebounded CofC, 33-27. Whitman finished with eight points on 4-of-6 shooting to go along with three blocked shots. Cohn dished out seven assists compared to zero turnovers.
Charleston shot a season-high 58.5 percent (31-of-53), including 15-of-22 (68.2 percent) in the second half, but could not keep place with the Green and Gold offense. The Cougars connected on six 3-pointers, but were just 11-of-20 (55 percent) at the free throw line. Riller led four CofC players in double figures with 26 points on 11-of-14 shooting, while Brantley added a double-double of 20 points and 10 rebounds. Chealey and Harris rounded out the double-digit scorers for Charleston with 15 and 10 points, respectively.
(© 2017 WVEC)