VIRGINIA BEACH -- After all the dust settled following a frantic close to regualtion play in Friday's men's basketball game at Virginia Wesleyan College's Jane P. Batten Center, the host Marlins found a clear path to a thrilling 79-71 overtime victory over the Battling Bishops of North Carolina Wesleyan College.
The 10th ranked Marlins dominated scoring in the OT, scoring 10 consecutive points while holding the Bishops with a score until Devontae Williams (Kinston, N.C./South Lenoir) hit a jumper for NCWC with 30 seconds remaining in the game. Senior D.J. Woodmore (Virginia Beach/Landstown) and sophomore Sedric Nady (Virginia Beach/Landstown) both scored four points in the overtime to help secure VWC's ninth victory of the season in 11 outings. NCWC, which has dropped back-to-back overtime games to the two teams currently ranked atop the Old Dominion Athletic Conference, VWC and Guilford College, fell to 4-6.
NCWC utilized several players to attempt to keep Woodmore, VWC's leading scorer, under thumb, but the All-American found ways to get the ball to the hoop and through the net. His game-high 21 points included two key baskets, as he tied the game at 69 in regulation play on a layup down the middle of the lane, and put the Marlins in the lead in the OT with a jumper 37 seconds into the extra session.
Woodmore, who has scored in double-figures in 17 straight games, recorded his eighth game of 20+ points this season. He increased his career point total to 1,597, pushing him into the No. 3 spot among VWC's all-time leading scorers. Woodmore surpassed Lonnie Blow, who scored 1574 points from 1979 through 1982.
But, Woodmore was just part of a balanced effort Friday, as different Marlins provided timely scoring, particularly in the second half when NCWC came alive offensively to wipe out a 37-29 halftime deficit and eventually take a late 66-65 lead on a Shannon Huff (Fayetteville, N.C./Terry Sanford) jumper with 47 seconds remaining to be played.
A Woodmore jumper put the Marlins back in front seconds later at 67-66, but with time ticking away Marcus Williams (Fayetteville, N.C./Seventy-First) stunned the VWC crowd by nailing a triple from the right corner, and drawing a foul. His ensuing free throw missed the mark, but the Bishops owned a 69-67 lead entering the final seconds. That's when Woodmore made his move down the middle to score with six seconds remaining, tying the game. NCWC's final shot as the buzzer sounded was off the mark.
VWC's control in the overtime ended a game of surges, which started with NCWC taking charge in the first nine minutes of the contest. The Bishops opened up a 19-10 lead, helped by back-to-back jumpers by Brandon Brown (Fayetteville, N.C./Terry Sanford). But, the Marlins answered quickly, using triples by Cameron Owens (Centreville/Centreville), Woodmore, and Nady to tie the game at 19-all.
Aaron Clark (Chesapeake/Virginia Beach Tallwood) and rookie Khory Moore (Arlington/Wakefield) kept things rolling with two more triples, which all added into a 21-2 Virginia Wesleyan run that turned a 19-10 deficit into a 31-21 lead. Woodmore hit another trey to give VWC its largest lead of the game at 34-25 with 1:43 remaining before halftime.
Four Marlins finished in double-figure scoring for the Marlins, as Nady finished with 15 points, Owens tallied 12, and Greg Montgomery (Norfolk/Virginia Beach Princess Anne) added 10. VWC hit 10-of-21 triples to aid the win, but struggled at the free throw lines, connecting on just 17-of-31 attempts. Mongtomery recorded a double-double, pulling down 11 rebounds to go with his 10 points. VWC outrebounded the Bishops, 54-45. Colby Heard (Virginia Beach/Tallwood) and Kaelin Poe (Hampton/Kecoughtan) recorded three blocks each for VWC.
Josh Morrison (Chapel Hill, N.C./Chapel Hill) scored 15 points for NCWC, followed by Williams with 14. Huff led all rebounders with 14. He also had three blocks.
Virginia Wesleyan competes again on Wednesday, Jan. 8, at 7 p.m. in ODAC play at Bridgewater College.