VIRGINIA BEACH -- Senior Chris Astorga came up big for Virginia Wesleyan College men's basketball team with 27 points on Monday, but it wasn't enough to help the No. 1 ranked Marlins.
For the second consecutive year upstart Salisbury University found the way to post a victory, recording a 76-67 decision at the Jane P. Batten Student Center. While Salisbury improved to 9-1, the host Marlins absorbed their first loss of the season and dropped to 7-1.
Salisbury (9-1) did it with a balanced offense, scoring inside and out against a Virginia Wesleyan squad that could not find the answers. While Astorga (Suffolk/Virginia Beach Cape Henry Collegiate) hit 8-of-15 fielders, including4-of-8 from three point range, the other four Marlins starters combined for a chilly 7-o-f-24 showing.
While the Marlins struggled to drop the shots, they also hurt themselves at the free throw lines, hitting only 14-of-25 attempts. Salisbury hit 16-of-19 freebies, led by Travon Vann (Frederick, Md./St. John's Prospect Hall), who hit 9-of-10 attempts.
Salisbury took advantage of the offensive off night by VWC and led throughout, but never by more than 10 points. Despite the lack of consistent offense, Virginia Wesleyan still challenged to the end, pulling within a 64-60 score with 3:50 on the clock following an Astorga layup.
Several missed shots by the Sea Gulls opened the door for VWC to creep closer, but the Marlins missed two shots and turned the ball over in the next few minutes. Salisbury got back on track on a pair of Vann free throws with 2:10 on the clock and held the Marlins at bay the rest of the way.
Astorga's 27 points led VWC, whose next highest scorer was sophomore Cameron Owens (Centreville/Centreville) with eight points. Junior DJ Woodmore (Virginia Beach/Landstown) and Astorga led VWC rebounding with seven each. Woodmore also had six assists and Astorga recorded four blocks.
Tim Harwood (Rockville, Md./Magruder) and Vann led Salisbury with 21 points each. Chris Viqueira (Boyds, Md./Clarksville) added 13 points. Elijah Gore (Fort Washington, Md./Churchill) and Harwood led SU rebounding with six teach.
Virginia Wesleyan plays again on Thursday, Dec. 20, in Delaware against Wesley College at 4 p.m.