FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. -- A nine-day layoff, the first road game of the season, and a scrappy Methodist University team combined to give Virginia Wesleyan College's men's basketball team a test on Monday.
The result did not produce flying colors, but the No. 1/2 Marlins passed the combo test, posting a 67-59 non-conference victory at Methodist's Riddle Center.
After leading 32-24 at halftime, Virginia Wesleyan (3-0) appeared to be on the verge of opening up a comfortable margin when Trent Batson (Lewes, Del./Cape Henlopen) moved in for a dunk to give the Marlins a 53-36 lead with 10:34 remaining in the game.
But, Methodist (0-3) refused to fold. While VWC hit a cold spell from the field after the dunk, Methodist fired forward on a 12-0 run to cut the Marlins' lead to 53-48 with 7:45 on the clock. James Whitehead (Columbia, S.C./Dreher), a 6-foot-1 junior guard and an All-USA South Athletic Conference honoree last season, led the run with seven points.
Junior DJ Woodmore (Virginia Beach/Landstown) hit a jumper to stop the Methodist run and senior Chris Teasley (Newport News/Menchville) followed with a key basket to help the Marlins maintain a lead. The Monarchs crept within four points at 57-53 with 5:29 remaining, but could not get closer.
Two Woodmore free throws and a timely layup by Tre' Ford (Falls Church/J.E.B. Stuart) helped the Marlins stretch their lead to 61-53 with 4:37 on the clock and the Marlins held off the Monarchs the rest of the way.
Virginia Wesleyan struggled through a cold shooting night from the floor, nailing only 30 percent from the field overall and 21 percent from three-point range. The Marlins did fare better from the free throw stripes, hitting 24-of-33 attempts, and outrebounded the Monarchs 49-36.
Four Marlins finished in double-figure scoring, led by Woodmore with 16 points and Teasley with 15. Woodmore hit 6-of-11 field goal attempts and Teasley connected on 8-of-10 free throws. Senior Chris Astorga (Suffolk/Virginia Beach Cape Henry Collegiate)and Ford tallied 10 points each. Astorga shared game-high rebounding honors with Woodmore, each pulling down nine.
Whitehead led Methodist with 22 points, followed by Bryan Hockaday (Staten Island, N.Y./Curtis) with 13 and Brandon Monk (Jacksonville, N.C./Southwest Onslow) with 11. Kyle Combs (Fayetteville, N.C./Gray's Creek) led the Monarchs on the boards with nine rebounds.
Virginia Wesleyan returns to action on Wednesday, Nov. 28, hosting the 4-0 Roanoke College Maroons in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference for both teams beginning at 7 p.m. at the Jane P. Batten Student Center.