Connor Burchfield scored 14 points with four 3-pointers and Terry Tarpey added 12 points for the Tribe (8-3), which made 22 of 30 free throws (73 percent).
There were 14 lead changes and nine ties before Dixon put William & Mary up for good, 66-63, with a 3-pointer with 6:21 left. John Simons pulled the Chippewas within 87-84 with a 3-pointer with 12 seconds remaining, but Tarpey made a free throw to ice it.
Central Michigan, ranked No. 5 in the nation in 3-pointers per game (11), made 12 of 37 from long distance and led 33-31 at halftime.
Braylon Rayson scored 23 points, Chris Folwer added 21, Simons had 14 with four 3s, and Rayshawn Simmons 12 for Central Michigan (6-6).