Guard Marcus Thornton poured in 23 points to lead four William & Mary players in double figures, and the Tribe turned back Liberty 84-72 to win their home opener Tuesday in Williamsburg, Va.
Thornton scored in double digits for the 34th consecutive game, and William & Mary shot 60 percent from the field to beat Liberty for the third straight time. Freshman swingman Omar Prewitt added 18 points for the Tribe (1-1), who got 16 points from forward Tim Rusthoven and 13 from guard Terry Tarpey.
Forward Antwan Burrus led Liberty (1-1) with 18 points in the Flames' first game of 2013-14 against a Division I opponent. Burrus missed all of last season due to a stress fracture in his foot. Guards Davon Marshall and John Caleb Sanders added 12 points apiece, but they needed 22 combined shots from the field to reach that total. Sanders also tallied eight assists.
Two runs by William & Mary dictated the outcome. After trailing for the entire first half, the Tribe closed the period on a 10-2 run to take a 34-32 lead into intermission. Then, William & Mary embarked on a 12-2 run late in the second half, seizing a 69-57 advantage on Thornton's 3-pointer with 4:02 remaining.
Liberty got as close as 76-70 on Burrus' jumper with 1:27 to go, but the Tribe pulled away again.
William & Mary played without guard Brandon Britt, who was suspended last Thursday for a violation of team rules. Britt was arrested Oct. 25 on a DWI charge.