BALTIMORE -- Carl Baptiste scored a career-high 24 points, including a go-ahead layup with 10 seconds left, and top-seeded Delaware squeezed past William & Mary 75-74 Monday night to win the Colonial Athletic Association championship and earn a berth in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 15 years.

Delaware (25-9) will be making its fifth trip to the NCAA Tournament. The Hens, who previously qualified in 1992, 1993, 1998 and 1999, were making their first appearance in a league championship since losing to Hofstra in the 2001 America East tournament.

This one wasn't easy. Delaware trailed 74-68 with 1:20 left before scoring the game's last seven points. After Devon Saddler made two foul shots, Jarvis Threatt added a three-point play and Baptiste capped the comeback with a bullish layup.

William & Mary had one last chance, but Marcus Thornton bounced a jumper off the rim just before the buzzer sounded. An instant later, Hens fans rushed the court to celebrate with the team.

In the end and from the outset, the 6-foot-9, 260-pound Baptiste was too much to handle for the third-seeded Tribe (20-12). He scored 16 points in the first half on 7-for-7 shooting and finished 9 for 11, in addition to going 6 for 7 at the foul line and grabbing eight rebounds.

Thornton scored 22 and Tim Rusthoven had 16 for William and Mary.

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Despite playing in the CAA championship game for the third time in the last seven seasons, William & Mary remains in search of its first NCAA tournament appearance. Along with Army, St. Francis (N.Y.), Northwestern and The Citadel, the Tribe are one of five original Division I members never to have made the NCAA tournament.

Delaware led 39-33 at halftime and went up by 12 early in the second half before William & Mary used a 12-4 run to close to 51-46. Baptiste got his third foul with 11:37 left and was on the bench when Brandon Britt scored for the Tribe to make it 55-53.

It was 65-62 before layups by Rusthoven and Omar Prewitt gave the Tribe their first lead since 30-29. William & Mary increased its lead to 69-65 with 3:34 to go before Darvon Usher popped a 3 for Delaware.

Thornton answered with a jumper and Prewitt drilled a 3-pointer to make it 74-68, but the Tribe would not score again.

William & Mary advanced by defeating second-seeded Towson in the semifinals after losing twice previously to the Tigers. William & Mary could not duplicate the feat against the Hens, who have won seven straight against the Tribe, including 76-71 and 89-72 previously this season.

Delaware overcome a 2-for-12 performance beyond the arc to go up 39-33 at halftime.

William & Mary made seven of its first nine shots in racing to an 18-10 lead. The Hens then rattled off seven straight points before Kyle Gallard interrupted the run with a three-point play.

Baptiste followed with a three-point play of his own and added two layups in a 12-3 spree that put Delaware up 29-24.

Rusthoven responded with three successive baskets for the Tribe, the last a hook in the lane over Baptiste, but the Hens closed the half with a 10-3 spurt.