William & Mary came into this tournament being the top seed for the first time in school history. Of course they are the favorite, but like I said before, this tournament is wide open and anything can happen. Coming into the quarterfinal game, Elon is on a nice 4-game win streak, and came up with a big win against The Tribe at home earlier this season, 85-79, Elijah Bryant scoring 25 points off the bench. In that game both teams combined, attempted 56 trey balls, today was no different.
Both teams combined for 52 trey ball attempts in their quarterfinal matchup. The Tribe were the ones who converted majority of those attempts, shooting 38% (11-29) from the behind the arc, while Elon was 30% (7-23)
Defense is what really got the Tribe the victory today though. They made Elon work for every bucket early on, contesting every three point attempt. Elon didn't have a lot of spacing to work with on the perimeter, which you can give credit to Terry Tarpey and Omar Prewitt, who did an excellent job on Elijah Bryant and Tanner Samson.
Tarpey is the leagues best defensive player and I think the best co-star a team could have. Tarpey leads the conference in rebounds, steals, and block shots, which makes life easier for scoring threat Marcus Thornton. Today, Tarpey finished with 8 points, 9 boards, 5 dimes, and 3 steals.
Prewitt finished with 16 points.
Thornton, Prewitt, and Daniel Dixon, outscored Elon's 3 guards 45-33. Thornton, who is the school's best scorer, got off to a slow start, scoring his first bucket at the 8 minute mark in the first half. He would finish the half with 8 points, 2-4 from behind the line. He ended the first half with a buzzer beater 3-pointer that almost didn't happen. Thornton, trying to set up the offense for the final play of the half, lost track of time in the closing seconds. Coach Tony Shaver, eventually yelled Marcus name, and Thornton instinctively, managed to get up the shot right before the buzzer, hitting all net.
Like I said this game was all about defense. Elon only had one lead during the game, which was 6-5 in the first 2 minutes of the game, from then on it was all William & Mary. In the first 5 minutes of the game, Elon committed 4 turnovers which really hurt them early on. The Tribe also finished with 6 steals and 6 blocks.
Elijah Bryant ends his stellar freshman season with 15 points. William & Mary will now play Hofstra in the semi-final round Sunday at 2:30pm. The Tribe defeated the Pride twice this season, last game being a 80-78 victory on the road February 22nd.