WHITEWATER, Wisc. --- Chris Teasley scored 21 of his game-high 27 points after halftime, including seven in overtime, as the Marlins battled back-and-forth with Whitworth University in securing a spot in the NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Tournament quarterfinals with a 74-71 victory on Friday night in Whitewater, Wisconsin.
Virginia Wesleyan (27-3) is now one win away from a return trip to Salem and the 2012 NCAA Division III National Championship Series. In order to get back to Virginia's Championship City, VWC must defeat the host Warhwawks from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. UW-W defeated Wheaton College (Ill.) for its place in the final eight. VWC and UW-W tip-off at 8:00 p.m. ET (7pm CT) on Saturday.
After leading by five at halftime, the Marlins found themselves trailing by as many as six points midway thru the second half before they started to chip away at Whitworth's (26-4) advantage. Jack Woofburrow cashed in a three-pointer to put the Pirates on top 51-45 with 9:16 to play. Donald Vaughn and DJ Woodmore followed with field goals, and a pair of tosses from the charity stripe by Rakeem Davis brought VWC to within one at 52-51 with 7:12 to go.
Felix Friedt, who led Whitworth with 25 points and a game-best 10 rebounds, made two of his 11 foul shots to restore a three-point edge for WU, but Woodmore made that edge short-lived as he buried a wide-open three-pointer to knot the game at 54-all with 6:38 on the clock.
Then it was time for a little hot-potato with the lead as Teasley hit a pair of jumpers to return the advantage to VWC, the latter time by one point at 58-57. But two more from the line by Friedt and a lay-in by Dustin McConnell saw the Pirates go ahead 61-58 with 1:44 remaining.
Free throw shooting would play a big part throughout the rest of the contest. Davis split a pair, leaving VWC down by two with 40-seconds to play. Forced to foul, the Marlins put Idris Lasisi, an 80-percent shooter, on the line for 1-and-1 with 0:32 showing on the scoreboard. Lasisi missed the first toss, returning possession back to VWC. Teasley was fouled in his effort to get to the rim with 21-seconds to left. After hitting the first toss, Whitworth made him think about the second with a timeout. Teasley connected on the remaining freebie to lock the score at 61-all.
Whitworth played for final shot of regulation, but before that shot could be taken, the WU offense lost control of the ball as the horn sounded, signifying the need for bonus basketball.
Friedt broke the extra frame ice with the first two of his six overtime points, but Teasley promptly converted two more chances from the stripe with 4:21 on the clock. Nearly 90 seconds later, Teasley gave VWC its first lead of OT with his third three-pointer of the game.
Whitworth responded with lay-ups from McConnell and Friedt to put the Pirates ahead, 67-66, with 1:56 to play.
Woodmore and Vaughn jumpers were met with layups from Friedt and Wade Gebbers to keep Whitworth in the lead at 71-70 with 19-seconds to go. Teasley put the Marlins up for good with a jumper for points 26 and 27 for a 72-71 advantage with 0:10 showing. Woodmore added two free throws in the final seconds to secure the Marlins victory.
Teasley finished 10-of-18 from the field, including 3-of-6 from long-distance. He added six rebounds in 40 minutes of action. Vaughn registered 20 points and another six boards, and Woodmore chipped 16 points. Davis came off the bench to post a team-high eight rebounds.
Friedt was 7-of-16 from the field in addition to 11-of-12 from the stripe to account for his 25 points. Loofburrow notched 13 points and seven rebounds off the bench, while Gebbers added 12 points and a game-best three steals. Lasisi finished with 11 markers.