WILLIAMSBURG, VA—ODU sophomore guard Aaron Bacote scored a career high tying 28 points, but the Tribe of William and Mary rallied to hold off the Monarchs for a 74-68 win Wednesday night at William and Mary Hall. ODU falls to 5-9 and the Tribe improves to 7-5 led by 26 points from Marcus Thornton and ties the third annual Optima Health Challenge series between the two schools at 20 points each.
W&M led by as many as 17 in the first half, 28-11 at the 6:05 mark on a three-pointer by Julian Boatner, and would go into halftime with a 35-26 lead.
The Monarchs went on a 14-4 run to start the second half and tied the game at 40-40 with 16:22 left on a three-pointer by red-shirt junior guard Dimitri Batten. After a W&M miss, Batten scored again to put the Monarchs up 42-40. Marcus Thornton then hit a trey to give the Tribe a 43-42 lead with 15:22 remaining. Batten scored again on a layup to give the Monarchs a 44-43 lead.
The Tribes Fred Heldring hit a jumper to put them up for good at 45-44 with 14:38 left. Omar Prewitt followed with a three-pointer for a 48-44 lead. The two teams traded baskets down the stretch as the Monarchs got with-in two at 62-60 with 2:35 left on a three-pointer by red-shirt freshman guard Ambrose Mosley, but Thornton got a basket and hit two free throws to put W&M up 66-60 and the Monarchs would get no closer than four, at 68-64 after a tip-in by freshman forward Denzell Taylor with 21 seconds left in the game.
Bacote’s 28 points equaled his career high set earlier this year against Missouri State. He also had a team best three assists and two steals. Joining him in double figures were Dimitri Batten with 12 points and red-shirt junior forward Richard Ross with 10. ODU outrebounded its 10th opponent in the last 11 games, winning the battle on the glass, 32-27 and scored 36 points in the paint. Ross and Taylor hauled down six rebounds each.
ODU shot .500 (29-58) from the field to the Tribes .467 (21-45), but W&M was 21-for-27 from the free throw line to the Monarchs 5-for-9, including 0-for-3 in the final two minutes when they were trailing only 64-60.
Joining Thornton in double-figures were Julian Boatner with 14 and Omar Prewitt with 11. Kyle Gaillard led the Tribe with six rebounds.
The Monarchs return to home on Saturday night when they host George Mason of the Atlantic-10 at 7 p.m. at the Constant Center.