William & Mary crushes CAA leader UNC-Wilmington 96-78

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. - The William & Mary men's basketball scored early and often, looking the part of a well-oiled offensive machine on Saturday afternoon, blitzing league leader UNCW, 96-78, inside Kaplan Arena. The Tribe (11-9, 5-4 CAA) shot 55.7 percent from the field, dished out 21 assists and scored 32 fast-break points in running past the Seahawks (20-3, 9-1), who entered the game as one of only two teams in the country with 20 wins.

 

David Cohn and Daniel Dixon celebrate a basket.

David Cohn and Daniel Dixon celebrate a basket.

The senior duo of Omar Prewitt (28) and Daniel Dixon (27) combined for 55 of the Tribe's 96 points. Prewitt scored a season-high in connecting on 12-of-17 from the floor, including a perfect 3-of-3 from 3-point range. He added seven rebounds and four assists. Dixon was 9-of-17 from the floor and a perfect 8-of-8 at the charity stripe. Junior David Cohn was a catalyst, flirting with a triple-double on the way a 10-point, 10-assist and seven-rebound stat line. He  tallied his third career double-double and did not turn the ball over in 34 minutes against a Seahawk group that ranks among the best in the country at turning over its opponents.

After UNCW drew within five points just under four minutes into the second half, the Green and Gold padded its margin to 20 points via a huge 17-2 run and never looked back. Cohn lit the fuse to spark the spurt, scoring or assisting on six of the Tribe's seven baskets during the stretch. The Tribe scored 10 straight points, including back-to-back triples from Prewitt and sophomore Paul Rowley, to increase the lead to 56-41 and force a UNCW timeout with 14:16 remaining.

Following a UNCW basket, W&M tallied seven more points in a row. Dixon and Cohn converted back-to-back fast-break lay-ups, before Cohn found Rowley for a top key triple pushing the advantage to 63-43 at the 11:56 mark.

A pair of C.J. Bryce free throws with just over six minutes left drew the visitor within 13, 74-61. Like they had most of the day, Prewitt and Dixon provided the Green and Gold response. Prewitt canned a left corner 3-pointer, and Dixon drove the right side of the lane for a lay-up. The five quick points extended the lead to 79-61 and the Seahawks would get no closer than 16 points the rest of the way. W&M's cushion reached its pinnacle at 85-63 on a pair of Cohn free throws with just over four minutes remaining, before settling on the final margin of 18. To make the victory even more impressive, the Tribe never trailed against the Seahawks, who had won 25 of its last 27 games against CAA competition.

For the sixth time in the last eight games and second in a row, the Tribe shot better than 50 percent from the field, connecting on 34-of-61 (55.7 percent) vs. the Seahawks. W&M connected on 42.1 percent (8-of-19) from 3-point range and hit 20-of-24 (83.3 percent) from the free throw line. The Green and Gold dished out 21 assists compared to only eight turnovers, which was the fewest for a team against UNCW this season. The Seahawks entered the game turning its opponents over nearly 16 times per game.

Defensively, the Tribe limited Wilmington to its lowest shooting percentage in CAA play at 35.4 percent (28-of-79), including just 9-of-36 (25 percent) from 3-point range. UNCW held a 46-38 advantage on the glass, leading to a 20-6 cushion in second-chance points. Davontae Cacock led the Seahawks with 21 points and 16 rebounds. Bryce tallied 15 points, while Denzel Ingram and Ambrose Mosley rounded out the double-digit scorers at 12 and 10 points, respectively.

W&M scored the game's first eight points and held UNCW off the board for the opening six minutes in jumping out to a lead it would never relinquish . During the stretch, the Seahawks misfired on their first 10 shots from the floor. Prewitt scored four of W&M's first eight, and his post-up off an inbounds pass gave W&M an 8-0 cushion five and half minutes into the game.

The Seahawks drew as close as two on back-to-back Bryce buckets. His lay-up at the 6:17 mark closed the gap to 26-24, but Cohn led a quick six-point Tribe spurt to rejuvenate the lead and force a Wilmington timeout. W&M tallied three-straight fast-break lay-ups, including two from Prewitt, the final of which gave the home team a 32-24 lead at the 5:02 mark.

The lead reached double digits for the first time, 38-28, as junior Greg Malinowski found classmate Connor Burchfield for a corner 3-pointer with two minutes remaining in the opening half. The Tribe led by as many as 12, 42-30, in the first period following a pair of Jack Whitman free throws at the 1:12 mark.

After a Dixon jumper to start the second half re-established a double-digit Tribe lead, the Seahawks drew within five thanks to an 8-2 run. Cacock (3) and Chris Flemmings (5) scored all eight points. Flemmings' corner 3-pointer at the 16:45 mark to close the margin to 46-41, before W&M's game-altering 17-2 run.

Whitman tallied 11 points on a perfect 3-of-3 from the floor and a 5-of-6 effort at the free throw line. Rowley was perfect as well, hitting all three of his 3-point attempts, to finish with 10 points off the bench. As a team, W&M blocked eight shots, including four from freshman Nathan Knight.

The Tribe returns action on Monday night, hosting Drexel in a make-up game from earlier this season. The contest, which was postponed on Jan. 7 due to a snowstorm that hit the Hampton Roads area, carries a 7 p.m. tip from Kaplan Arena. Tribe Athletics TV will have the FREE HD broadcast via Stretch Internet, and fans can listen in over the Tribe Radio Network with Jay Colley and Charlie Woollum on the call. The Tide 92.3 FM and 107.9 Bach FM are the flagship stations of the Tribe Radio Network and the audio is also available over the Web at TribeAthletics.com.