WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (Tribe Athletics) - Sophomore Justin Pierce erupted for a career-high 30 points and the William & Mary men's basketball team shot 57.1 percent from the floor and drilled 13 3-pointers on the way to a 99-92 win over Elon on Thursday night at Kaplan Arena. The Tribe (15-7, 8-3 CAA) led by as much as 20 points in the second half and held off a late charge from the visiting Phoenix (13-11, 5-6 CAA) to remain in a tie atop the CAA standings.
After Elon closed a 13-point halftime deficit to eight just over six minutes into the second half, the Tribe answered with a 14-2 run sparked by senior guard David Cohn to stretch the margin to its largest at 20. Cohn found junior Paul Rowley in transition for a triple, and his defensive play, diving on the floor for a steal, resulted in an easy Connor Burchfield fast-break lay-up at the 12:17 mark, extending the lead to 15. He added an old-fashion 3-point play, and the advantage ballooned to 78-58 on Pierce's lay-up midway through the final period.
Elon hit nine of its next 10 shots, including four 3-pointers, to whittle the Green and Gold lead to three, 89-86, with 2:42 remaining. W&M responded with five straight to put the game out of reach. Rowley found sophomore Nathan Knight for a lay-up, and Pierce canned his sixth 3-pointer to stretch the margin back to eight, 94-86, with a minute and a half left.
W&M used an 8-0 run to open up a nine-point cushion, 24-15, on a Rowley 3-pointer midway through the opening 20 minutes. Elon closed to within two on back-to-back 3-pointers from Seth Fuller and Tyler Seibring, but another Green and Gold 8-0 run extended the margin to double-digits. Pierce knock down back-to-back 3-pointers, before a Knight bucket with 5:40 left pushed the advantage to 36-26. Pierce scored seven-straight Tribe points to pad the lead to 12, 46-34, with just two minutes left in the first frame.
The Tribe are back at home Saturday afternoon against Drexel.