LYNCHBURG, VA-Trent Batson has produced numerous dunks during his four years as a Virginia Wesleyan College basketball, but none as dramatic as Saturday's at Randolph College.
The electrifying dunk capped a tremendous comeback by the Marlins (16-5, 9-3), who experienced a frigid shooting performance in the first half, hitting only 20% from the floor. The host WildCats (12-9, 6-6) jumped on that dearth of VWC scoring and opened up a stunning 32-13 lead with 2:48 on the clock.
Juniors Breven Lyons and Cameron Owens kept it from getting worse for the Marlins, as they hit three consecutive triples, two by Brevens, to pull Virginia Wesleyan within a 32-22 score by halftime.
That first-half ending run was actually the start of the comeback for the Marlins, currently ranked No. 11 by BennettRank and No. 16 by D3hoops.com. Lyons scored the first five points of the half, pulling VWC within a 32-27 score. Evan Horn scored on a pair of free throws to start the second-half scoring for Randolph, but Virginia Wesleyan continued to roll.
VWC outscored Randolph 17-2 through the last 2:20 of the first half and the first 2:45 of the second half to cut the host team's lead to 34-30. Randolph, which did not score a field goal through the final 2:48 of the first half and the first 3:14 of the second half, finally snapped that drought when Dylan Shifflett scored on a layup with 16:46 on the clock.
Randolph still managed to hold onto the lead in the ensuing minutes, helped by key scoring by Jason Eddie and Mike Ehilegbu. But, a triple by senior Aaron Clark and four straight points by Woodmore, including two on a dunk, led VWC to a 48-tie with 9:31 on the clock.
After Ehliegbu returned the lead to the 'Cats with a triple, Woodmore answered with a trey to tie it again at 51. Ehliegbu scored on a layup for a 53-51 Randolph lead, but that would be the last for the home team. Clark ripped through a triple to give VWC a 54-53 lead, its first of the day, and Batson followed with a layup after Randolph turnover to make it a 56-53 score.
Virginia Wesleyan went on to open up a 63-58 lead, helped Owens' fourth triple of the game at the 5:05 mark, but Corey Brown and Eddie nailed pressure packed free throws to cut into the lead. Ehilegbu tied the game at 63 on a layup with 17 seconds on the clock.
VWC owned the ball for the final seconds and drew a foul with six seconds remaining. Batson's monster dunk came as the final horn sounded. Woodmore led VWC scoring with a stellar second-half showing as he scored 17 of his team-high 19 points. Owens followed with 15 points, helped by four triples, and Lyons scored a career-high 11 points. He hit 4-of-6 field goal attempts, including 3-of-5 triples. Batson finished with nine points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
Virginia Wesleyan entered the game ranked No. 4 nationally in three-pointers made per game and protected that status. The Marlins hit 10-of-29 triples, while Randolph attempted nine and hit two. Randolph enjoyed a big day at the free throw lines, connecting on 21-of-28 attempts, led by Horn hitting 6-of-8. Ehilegbu led WildCat scoring overall with 20 points, nailing 8-of-12 field goal attempts. Brown was the only other Randolph player in double-figure scoring, finishing with 13 points.