William & Mary started 2014 with a win over an old rival.
Guard Marcus Thornton came alive in the second half, scoring 22 of his team-high 26 points in the last 20 minutes as the Tribe edged Old Dominion 74-68 Wednesday night at Kaplan Arena in Williamsburg, Va.
Guard Julian Boatner added 14, going 4-for-6 on 3-pointers, and guard Omar Prewitt contributed 11 points off the bench for the Tribe (7-5). Prewitt and Boatner each hit two foul shots in the last 30 seconds to help William & Mary ice the victory.
Guard Aaron Bacote fired in a game-high 28 points for the Monarchs, who lost for the eighth time in nine games. Guard Dimitri Batten contributed 12 points, and forward Richard Ross contributed 10 points for Old Dominion (5-9).
The Monarchs trailed by as many as 17 points in the first half, but they got on a roll to start the second half. Batten capped a 16-5 spurt by sinking a 3-pointer and then a runner to give Old Dominion its first lead of the night at 42-40 with 16:22 remaining.
Thornton made a 3-pointer and then a tip-in to give the Tribe the lead for good at 45-44. William & Mary pushed its lead as high as eight in the last minute en route to its third consecutive win over Old Dominion.
With 6-foot-9 senior forward Tim Rusthoven missing the game due to an injury, William & Mary still got off to a good start. The Tribe established a 17-7 lead with 11:45 left in the first half when Boatner and Prewitt drilled 3-pointers 37 seconds apart.
Old Dominion couldn't get into any kind of rhythm offensively. Every starter turned the ball over once in the first eight minutes, and only Bacote managed a field goal in the first 10 minutes.
Bacote singlehandedly led the Monarchs into contention late in the first half with a 9-0 run. He canned two consecutive 3-pointers and then converted a three-point play to bring the Monarchs within 28-20 with 4:20 left before the break.
Tribe forward Kyle Gaillard stopped that run with a jumper, then a three-point play in transition to give William & Mary a 33-20 advantage with 2:08 remaining.
Old Dominion guard Ambrose Mosley brought his team within 35-26 at halftime when he hit a jumper in the lane with seven seconds left.
NOTES: William & Mary played its first New Year's Day game since 1972 and its first-ever home game on Jan. 1. ... The Monarchs and Tribe met as non-conference rivals for the first time since Dec. 5, 1990, a 71-63 William & Mary win in Williamsburg. Old Dominion left the Colonial Athletic Association after last season to join Conference USA.