NORFOLK- One streak ended and another was extended Saturday as No. 5 Virginia Wesleyan College handed Hampton Roads rival Christopher Newport University an 89-74 setback. Playing in the second game of the Coaches vs. Cancer double-header at Old Dominion University's Ted Constant Center, the nationally ranked Marlins took the lead for good with 4:23 remaining in the first half. VWC out-scored the Captains 18-2 in a four-minute span to take control in the non-conference game. The Marlins (16-2) snapped a current 12-game winning streak for CNU (16-4), which lost for the first time since December. The win also gave Virginia Wesleyan its 10th consecutive win over CNU.
CNU lead early in the first half, pushing out to a 27-19 spread after Paul Meredith hit a pair of free throws with 6:52 on the clock. But, the Marlins turned up the defensive pressure, helping to force four CNU turnovers, and turned the miscues to points. After a dunk by Chris Astorga pulled VWC within one, he followed a missed shot by the Captains with a three-pointer that put the Marlins in front...to stay.
Chris Teasley followed a CNU turnover with a dunk and senior Rakeem Davis came up with a big steal that led to a triple by Tre' Ford. Another miss was rebound by Davis and senior Donald Vaughn followed with a jumper that put the Marlins in front 37-29.
Rookie Nik Biberaj and senior Conley Taylor helped bring the Captins back within a poin in the final seconds of the half, but Astorga padded the spread with VWC with points, including a triple just before the buzzer to put VWC in front 42-36.
Virginia Wesleyan led by as many as 13 points in the first six minutes of the second half and used key scoring from D.J. Woodmore, Art Crew, Ford and Teasley to keep the Captains at bay in the second half. Rookie Mike Cherry nailed a triple to pull CNU within a 64-59 score with 11:12 on the clock, but Virginia Wesleyan came back with scores from Astorga, Ford, and Woodmore to pull away.
Vaughn gave Virginia Wesleyan its largest lead of the game, 82-66, on a layup with 4:03 remaining. All five Virginia Wesleyan starters scored in double figures, led by Astorga with 25 points. He nailed 10-of-17 shot, including 3-of-5 triples, and pulled down a team-high eight rebounds. Woodmore added 22 points, scoring in doubles for a 15th time this season. He hit 8-of-18 from the field, nailed three triples, and dished out six assists.
Vaughn finished with 16 points and a team-leading three blocks, and Ford and Teasley added 10 points each. Ford dished out a game-high eight assists and produced three steal. Crew contributed with six rebounds. Cherry led CNU with 26 points, hitting 9-of-11 free throws. Biberaj added 21 points, on 9-of-15 shooting from the field. Adam Otey led all rebounding with 10 boards. Luc Atangana added nine boards.
CNU won the rebounding battle 40-36, while Virginia Wesleyan helped itself with a 20-7 advantage in assists. The Marlins also hit 8-of-19 triples, while CNU connected on just 1-of-13 attempts from long range.