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William & Mary Convincing In Win Over Elon

The William & Mary Tribe lived up to its No. 1 seed by easily defeating the Elon Phoenix in the first quarterfinal game of the CAA Tournament.

Marcus Thornton Leads William & Mary into Sunday's CAA Semifinal against Hofstra.
Marcus Thornton Leads William & Mary into Sunday's CAA Semifinal against Hofstra.
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

With CAA Player of the Year Marcus Thornton leading the scoring with 17 points and the leagues Defensive Player of the Year Terry Tarpey grabbing nine rebounds and three steals, the William and Mary Tribe (19-11) had little trouble putting away the Phoenix of Elon  (15-18) the number eight seed in the tournament.

It's often said you can live by the three and die by the three. Just about 16 hours after setting a CAA Tournament record with 13 3-pointers against Towson in the first round, Elon couldn't keep up the hot pace from long range and only shot 7 of 23 (30.4 percent) against the Tribe.

Tarpey and Thornton scored the final seven points of the first half to open up a 36-26 lead for the Tribe. The final three points came on a fade away  jumper from 25 feet right in front of the Tribe bench by Thornton.

"We were going for the last shot and it's a play we practice all the time for the end of the half. I just lost track of the time on the clock and coach yelled Marcus, and I saw there were only a couple seconds left," explained Thornton when asked if he heard Williams and Mary coach Tony Shaver yelling his name.

"We can smile about it now, but we wouldn't be smiling if I missed it," added Thornton.

"I guess I should say, that's just how we draw it up," Shaver said with a laugh when recounting the play.

Elon did regain its long distance form coming out of the break by hitting three 3-pointers less than three minutes into the half. Two of the threes were by sharpshooter Tanner Samson. But Samson picked up two quick fouls during this stretch, including his fourth with 16:55 left to play.

William and Mary immediately went on a 10-0 run to increase the lead to 50-35 and Phoenix head coach Matt Matheny had no choice but to bring Samson back in with four fouls and 13:30 remaining on the clock.

After trailing by as many as 18, a dunk by Dimitri Thompson got the Phoenix to within 13 (60-47) with 8:44 to play, Elon would not get another field goal until 1:51 remained when Austin Hamilton hit a meaningless layup, as William and Mary still held a comfortable 14 point lead.

In addition to Thornton, William and Mary had Omar Prewitt (16 points) and Daniel Dixon (12 points) in double figures. The Phoenix placed three in double figures led by Bryant's 15 points.

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In the second quarter final of the day Hofstra University beat James Madison University 74-57 behind a Moussa Kone's double-double effort of 18 points and 11 rebounds. Hofstra converted 14 JMU turnovers into 23 points to hold a 14-point advantage in points off turnovers.

Hofstra turned a close six-point game at halftime into a runaway by connecting on 55 percent of its shots in the second half. Kone was supported by Juan'ya Green's 10 points and 8 assists.

Ron Curry led James Madison with 18 points.