Virginia Wesleyan clinches No. 1 seed with victory over Lynchburg
VIRGINIA BEACH -- Virginia Wesleyan College put together one of its patented runs in the first eight minutes of the second half Saturday to leave Lynchburg College's Hornets reeling.
The host Marlins outscored Lynchburg 23-9 to catapult into a 51-42 lead, wiping out Lynchburg's 36-28 halftime lead. Senior Tre' Ford (Falls Church/J.E.B. Stuart) was a catalyst in the surge, scoring all 12 of his points in the run to help give Virginia Wesleyan the lead. Lynchburg never got closer than eight points the rest of the way as Virginia Wesleyan celebrated Senior Day with a 71-54 Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC)victory at the Jane P. Batten Student Center.
VWC's win gives the Marlins (19-6, 14-2) the No. 1 seed for the second consecutive year heading into the upcoming ODAC tournament. The Marlins open tourney play on Friday, Feb. 22, at 1 p.m. at the Civic Center in Salem, Virginia. VWC will face the winner of a game between ninth-seeded Eastern Mennonite University and eighth-seeded Washington and Lee University on Tuesday, Feb. 19.
Saturday's win gave Virginia Wesleyan a regular-season sweep of Lynchburg, which fell to the Marlins 72-65 earlier this season at Lynchburg. The Hornets (18-7, 9-7) entered the rematch at the beach geared to play and kept the score close through most of the first half behind the play of Andrew Simmons Chesterfield/Meadowbrook) and Austin Chillemi (Richmond/Trinity Episcopal).
But, the Hornets surprised Virginia Wesleyan with a first-half ending spurt, outscoring the Marlins 16-2 in the final 5:30 to take a 36-28 lead at the break. Manny Hernandez (Clifton Park, N.Y./Shenendehowa) led the run with a pair of three-pointers.
It wasn't long after the start of the second half the VWC started to take control as senior Chris Astorga (Suffolk/Virginia Beach Cape Henry Collegiate) started the big run with a triple. Junior DJ Woodmore (Virginia Beach/Landstown) added a pair of free throws and Ford added a three-point play to cut the Hornets' lead to 37-36.
Senior Chris Teasley (Newport News/Menchville) connected on a triple to push the Marlins in front 39-37 and Ford followed with seven consecutive points as Virginia Wesleyan opened up a 48-41 lead with 14:43 remaining to be played. Lynchburg attempted nine shots during the VWC run, but hit just one.
A free throw by Harry West (Richmond/Meadowbrook) halted the Marlins run temporarily as Teasley followed with another triple to give VWC a 51-42 lead. Two Chillemi free throws cut the spread to seven, but that's as close as it would get for Lynchburg the rest of the way. Virginia Wesleyan put together a 9-0 spurt in two minutes to open up a 60-44 lead with 8:19 on the clock.
Woodmore led VWC scoring with 18 points, hitting 5-of-12 field goals, including 3-of-7 triples. He also hit 5-of-6 free throws and led Marlin rebounding with eight. Teasley connected on 5-of-10 shots, including 3-of-5 triples, and finished with 15 points. Ford added 12 points and game-high five assists.
Chillemi scored 20 points to lead Lynchburg, hitting 8-of-12 field goal attempts. He also pulled down a game-high 14 rebounds and blocked four shots. He was the only Hornet player to finish in double-figure scoring.