VIRGINIA BEACH- It was enough of a patented Virginia Wesleyan College spurt to give the men's basketball Marlins a cushion that turned into an impetus to a 76-61 victory over the Delaware Valley College Aggies in Saturday's NCAA Division III first round tournament game at a noisy Jane P. Batten Student Center.
The victory moves Virginia Wesleyan (22-7) into a second round game on Saturday, March 9, against Hampton Roads rival Christopher Newport University (22-5). Site and start time is still to be determined.
After Aggies ace Jeremy Beckett hit a jumper to pull the Pennsylvania team within a point of the Marlins, a familiar leader took over for Virginia Wesleyan.
Junior, DJ Woodmore, who sat out the Marlins' semifinal and championship games in the recent Old Dominion Athletic Conference championship tournament, was back on the court and scored five consecutive points to help the Marlins push out to a 28-22 lead with 4:39 remaining in the first half.
Senior Tre' Ford, a workhorse for the Marlins from start to finish, came through with a three-point play, combining with Woodmore to help VWC on an 8-0 run to open up the largest lead of the first half at 31-22.
A Chris Moran jumper cut it back to seven for DVC, the Freedom Conference champion, but junior Trent Batson answered for VWC to give the Marlins a 33-24 lead at halftime.
Ford nailed a triple to give Virginia Wesleyan a 12-point lead early in the second half, before Daulton Derr answered with a three for the Aggies (19-9) second later to cut the spread back to nine points with 17:27 remaining in the game.
That's as close as Delaware Valley would get the rest of the way as the Marlins manufactured a 17-8 scoring run that gave the host team a 54-36 advantage with 10:46 on the clock. Woodmore hit two triples and scored eight points in the decisive run and senior Chris Teasley added seven points.
Scoring by Zach Sly, Francis Arnold and Beckett helped Delaware Valley trim the spread to 12 points, but Virginia Wesleyan's depth and balance was too much for the Aggies.
Shots by senior Chris Astorga and sophomore Cameron Owens, a timely dunk by junior Colby Heard and more scoring from Ford helped Virginia Wesleyan to open up a 76-55 lead with 1:38 on the clock.
Virginia Wesleyan helped itself by hitting 54.8% from the field in the second half and put three players in double-figure scoring. Ford led the way with 20 points, followed by Woodmore with 15 and Teasley with 11. Teasley hit 5-of-7 field goals, Ford nailed 6-of-12, including 4-of-6 triples, and Woodmore connected on 6-of-13 shots, including three triples. The Marlins high nine triples overall.
Teasley also pulled down nine rebounds to lead VWC on the backboards and also led the team with six assists. The Marlins finished with seven blocks, led by Ford, Astorga and Heard with two each.
Beckett led all scoring, posting 25 points for the Aggies. He hit only 8-of-20 field goal attempts, but added to his totals with an 8-of-11 showing from the free throws. He recorded his 18th double-double for the season by leading all rebounding with 13. Sly and Derr scored 10 points each for the Aggies and Arnold helped his team with four assist and two steals.