VIRGINIA BEACH, VA- Christopher Newport handed Virginia Wesleyan its first loss of the season Sunday afternoon, as the Captains improved to 7-1 with an 83-80 overtime victory. The win marked the first ever for CNU at the Batten Center, where they had previously been 0-6.
Senior Tra Benefield led the attack, scoring 30 points, while sophomore Terry Jackson added 18. Benefield and Jackson contributed all 11 of CNU's points in the overtime period. CNU out-scored VWC, 11-8, to pull out the victory and improve to 5-0 on the road this season.
Benefield, a pre-season All-America selection, scored 13 points in the first half, 12 in the second half, and five in the overtime.
CNU struggled early as the Marlins scored the first seven points of the game, and then opened a 30-18 lead midway through the first half. The Captains then went on a 25-8 run, concluding with a Mike Cherry three-pointer with eight seconds left, to head to halftime with a 43-38 lead.
The Captains and the Marlins went back and forth through the second half, exchanging the lead all the way to the finish. Sophomore Evan Thorpe sank two free throws with 59 seconds remaining to tie the game at 72-72. The Marlins missed two shots in the final minute and the teams headed to an extra period.
Benefield and Jackson then took over in overtime, as CNU never fell behind through the extra session. Jackson's jumper with 1:53 left put CNU on top, 81-77, and then Benefield scored on a layup with 1:17 to go for the final points of the game. VWC would commit a turnover and miss a three-pointer in the final minute of overtime as the Captains held on for the 83-80 triumph.
The Captains out-rebounded the Marlins, 43-32, with freshman Tim Daly leading the way with seven boards.