Virginia Wesleyan finishes 2-0 in tourney with win over Southwestern
ASHLAND, Va. -- When Southwestern University's Pirates were presented with an opening in Saturday's men's basketball game against Virginia Wesleyan College, they barged in and tried to make themselves at home.
But, the Marlins weren't hospitable for long as they found the ways to push the Pirates out a final time and keep things secure the rest of the way Saturday for a 73-58 victory in the Randolph-Macon Yellow Jacket Classic.
Virginia Wesleyan (2-1) led by as many as 21 points in the first half and seemed to be on course for a lop-sided decision, when momentum shifted early in the second half. Southwestern (0-6) chipped away at the spread, led by Sean Myers (Borerne, Texas/TMI-Episcopal), and pulled within a 54-49 score with 10:10 remaining in the game when Logan Hurley nailed a timely three-pointer.
VWC hit only five of 13 field goal attempts in that span, connected on just three of eight free throw attempts, and turned the ball over five times. Even after Southwestern pulled within five, the Marlins played for nearly four minutes without a field goal, but so did the Pirates.
While Southwestern stuck on 49 points for over seven minutes, Virginia Wesleyan began to find its stroke again. After free throws byRakeem Davis (Chesapeake, Va./Deep Creek) and D.J. Woodmore (Virginia Beach/Landstown) repadded the Marlins' lead, Ali Brown (Hampton, Va./Kecoughtan) scored on a laup to give VWC a 59-49 advantage with 7:03 showing on the clock.
Virginia Wesleyan's lead grew to 62-49 following freebies by Donald Vaughn (Woodbridge, Va./Dumfries Potomac), before Daniel Mataya (Spring, Texas/Cypress Creek) ended the long scoring drought for Southwestern by hitting a triple with 2:57 remaining to be played.
Virginia Wesleyan outscored the Pirates 11-6 in the final 2:53 to pull away, opening up a 73-55 lead on a layup by Art Crew (Williamsburg, Va./Lafayette).
After hitting 50% from the field in the first half, Virginia Wesleyan cooled off to 37% in the second half, while Southwestern picked up its pace to pull back into the game after tailing 41-26 at halftime. The Pirates hit 44.8% in the second half.
Virginia Wesleyan dominated rebounding, 48-30, led by Davis with nine, Woodmore with eight, and Vaughn with seven. Myers had seven boards for SU. Southwestern did finish with the advantage in triples however, hitting 6-of-14, while VWC connected on just 3-of-12.
Woodmore led all scoring, knocking down 18 points, hitting 6-of-12 field goal attempts. Vaughn, who nailed 5-of-9 field goal attempts, added 17 points. Tre' Ford (Falls Church, Va./J.E.B. Stuart) led the Marlins with four assists and Brown led the team with four steals.
Southwestern was led by a trio of players with 10 points each, Michael Cantu (Corpus Christi, Texas/Calallen), Logan Hurley (Tomball, Texas/Tomball), and Mataya. Myers led the Pirates with seven rebounds, Cantu recorded five assists, and Chase Kocher (Austin, Texas/St. Michael's Catholic Academy) posted a game-high six steals.
Virginia Wesleyan returns to competition on Wednesday, Jan. 30, when the Marlins open their home season in The Jane P. Batten Student Center. The Marlins will host the Yellow Jackets of Randolph-Macon College at 8 p.m. in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference opener for both teams.