Guards Marcus Thornton and Brandon Britt combined for 32 points, including 10 during a 15-2 second-half William & Mary scoring burst, to lead the Tribe to a 70-59 victory over the College of Charleston in Saturday's fourth quarterfinal game of the CAA Men's Basketball Championship at the Baltimore Arena.
Third-seeded William & Mary, which trailed by 15 points late during the opening half, shot 56.0 percent (14-25) during the final period and advances to a 5 p.m. Sunday semifinal game against second-seeded Towson. Sixth-seeded Charleston, which was competing in the tournament as a first-year CAA member, closed its season with a 14-18 record.
Thornton finished with 16 points and began William & Mary's key 15-2 scoring run with a layup and a three-point field goal to get the Tribe to within to 51-48 with 10:41 to play. Britt, who also had 16 points, had a layup to pull his team to within 51-50 at 9:01 and a three-point play at 6:12 to cap the burst and give William & Mary a 58-53 margin.
Charleston, which shot only 25.8 percent (8-31) during the final half after shooting 48.4 percent (15-31) during the opening period, pulled to within 58-57 with 4:32 to play and 61-59 at 3:43 but didn't score again. The Cougars missed on five consecutive shots and had a turnover during the final 2:16.
Thornton raised William & Mary's lead to 63-59 with a 15-footer at 2:44; senior forward Tim Rusthoven scored on a tip-in at 1:50; and Thornton hit on two free throws at 0:53 to give William & Mary a 67-59 edge and all but seal the win.
Thornton and Britt were William & Mary's only double-figure scorers, but the Tribe got nine points and eight rebounds from sophomore guard Terry Tarpey and five or more points from four other players. William & Mary shot 46.8 percent (22-47) overall from the field, hit on six of 12 three-point shots and connected on 20 of 29 free throws.
Charleston had three double-figure scorers, including senior forward Willis Hall, who had a team-high 15 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. Senior forward Anthony Thomas had 14 points on seven-of-nine shooting and junior guard Anthony Stitt 11 points.
After four early lead changes, Charleston went in front 15-14 on sophomore guard-forward Theo Johnson's short driving shot with 12:18 left in the first half and raised the lead to double figures (29-17) by hitting on four shots from three-point range from the 10:29 to the 7:10 marks of the opening period. The lead reached 38-23 on a layup by Hall with 1:48 left in the half before William & Mary got to within 40-28 by halftime.
Hall during the first half had 13 points and five rebounds for Charleston, which also had a 19-13 rebounding advantage. Britt scored William & Mary's final six points of the first half and led the Tribe with nine points during the period.
Charleston twice led by 14 early during the final half but eventually was outscored 42-19 during the period.