PHILADELPHIA — The seats were mostly empty at the Daskalakis Athletic Center on Monday night with the exception of press row, where NBA scouts packed in tightly to watch William and Mary star Marcus Thornton.
And Thornton didn't disappoint.
The senior guard did a little bit of everything — and all of it well — while scoring an efficient 23 points to lead the Tribe to a 73-47 Colonial Athletic Association victory over the injury-depleted Dragons.
"I'm glad he's on my team, I'll tell you that," Tribe coach Tony Shaver said. "He was sensational tonight and not just scoring the ball."
There was so much to like in Thornton's game that it was hard to pick a favorite moment.
Was it the first-half drive and dunk over three Drexel defenders? The fadeaway 3-pointer off one foot with 41 seconds left in the first half in front of screaming Dragons coach Bruiser Flint? Consistently finding the open man? Lightning-quick first step?
All were impressive.
"Offensively, he's got it," one NBA scout said.
That scout said the question isn't whether Thornton will play in the NBA, only whether he'll stick.
As a point guard who can score, Thornton has a skill set coveted in today's NBA game.
For his part, Thornton shrugged off the attention.
"I don't usually hear until after the game if I do hear at all," he said of scouts watching. "For me, my focus is on my teammates and doing what I can to help our team progress and make it to the CAA championship."
He helped his team in a variety of ways against Drexel, scoring when needed in the opening 20 minutes and passing mostly after the break.
Thornton tallied 18 first-half points to help the Tribe pull out of an early nine-point hole on their way to a 34-29 halftime lead. After the intermission, with Drexel's attention focused almost solely on him, Thornton passed up shots to find his teammates for easier baskets.
Five of his six assists came after the intermission.
"His first five or six minutes of the second half might have been the most impressive stretch he's played all year," Shaver said. "That's so important for our club. We know he can score but he showed such trust in his teammates right there. He's a really complete player."
Thornton passed Thomas Roberts to move into fifth all-time in Tribe scoring while raising his average to 19.2 points per game. He is 284 points from tying Chet Giermack for the all-time school scoring record.
"I would love to break it, but I'm more focused on my team's success," Thornton said. "It would be great if that all came along with it. We'll just have to wait and see."