Guilford pulls off the upset at No. 2 Virginia Wesleyan
VIRGINIA BEACH -- Virginia Wesleyan College basketball fans could revive an old saying in describing Saturday's 60-55 loss to Guilford College's Quakers -- it was the pits.
Or in the case of the visiting Quakers, it was Pittman. Josh Pittman to be exact.
The 6-foot-1 junior guard from Archadale, N.C. (Trinity), did not enjoy the best shooting game of his career, but he may have recorded one of his most clutch shooting games ever. Pittman came through with big time scores in the second half, helping the Quakers (13-5, 7-2) to prevent No. 2-ranked Virginia Wesleyan from tying or overtaking the lead.
Example. Virginia Wesleyan (13-2, 6-1) battled back from an eight-point deficit to pull within two points (39-37) following a three-point play from Chris Teasley (Newport News, Va./Menchville). Pittman answered with five unanswered points for Guilford, which pushed out to a 49-40 lead helped by scores by Gabriel Lowder (Yadkinville, N.C./North Forsyth) and Will Freeman (Fort Wayne, Ind./Richmond).
Tre' Ford (Falls Church, Va./J.E.B. Stuart), Rakeem Davis (Chesapeake, Va./Deep Creek), D.J. Woodmore (Virginia Beach/Landstown), and Teasley brought the Marlins back again, pulling within a 55-52 score with 1:38 on the clock following a Woodmore triple.
But, once again the Quakers got the clutch score they needed, this time from Freeman, who rebounded his own miss and put it up and in to give Guilford a 57-52 lead with 46 seconds remaining. Another Woodmore triple seconds later made it a 58-55 game, but the Marlins were unable to get the possessions they needed to overtake the lead.
It was an intense game from the start, with VWC holding its largest lead at 21-16 following a Davis jumper with 6:20 remaining in the half. But, Pittman took over for Guilford in the closing minutes, coming on strong for eight points in a 14-3 run that gave Guilford a 30-24 lead at halftime. Pittman hit a triple as the final seconds ticked off to give the Quakers the six-point bulge.
Guilford pushed its lead to eight points early in the second half, but senior Donald Vaughn (Woodbridge, Va./Dumfries Potomac), junior Chris Astorga (Suffolk, Va./Virginia Beach Cape Henry Collegiate), and Teasley pulled the Marlins within a 39-37 score with 12:06 remaining. The Marlins challenged for the tie or lead several times after that, only to come up short.
The loss snapped a 13-game winning streak for Virginia Wesleyan and extended Guilford's current streak to four consecutive wins. It also gave Guilford it's ninth win over VWC in the last 10 games.
Woodmore emerged as the game's leading scorer, pumping in 26 points on a 10-of-18 shooting effort, that included five triples made. But, shooting was off overall for the Marlins, who netted only 33% of their attempts. Teasley, who hit 4-of-11 shots, finished with 11 points.
Pittman led Guilford with 18 points. He hit only 6-of-18 shots from the field, including three triples, but scored when the Quakers needed the points. Freeman followed with 16 points, hitting 8-of-11 shots inside, and Lowder tallied 13 points.
VWC will attempt to get back on track on Monday, Jan. 23, when the Marlins travel to Bridgewater College for a 7 p.m. start in another ODAC contest.