VIRGINIA BEACH, VA – An Ali Brown layup at the buzzer gave the #3 ranked Virginia Wesleyan College Marlins a 73-71 win over the visiting Hampden-Sydney Tigers. The Tigers drop to 17-6, 10-4 in the ODAC while Virginia Wesleyan improves to 19-3, 11-2 ODAC.
The game was back-and-forth in the early going as neither team could pull away. VWC took an 11-6 lead at the 15:24 mark, but two straight jumpers from Patrick Corrigan (Richmond, VA/Collegiate) cut the lead to one just over a minute later. The Tigers would then tie it at 13-13 with 12:05 to go in the first half. VWC then went on a 14-2 run over the next three and a half minutes to pull ahead 27-15 at 8:34.
The lead hovered around 10 points for the remainder of the half and a Brown jumper with nine seconds left sent the Marlins into halftime with a 40-28 lead. The Tigers were limited to 36% shooting in the stanza and went 0-4 from three while Virginia Wesleyan shot 50% and went 4-6 from deep range.
Hampden-Sydney cut the lead down from 11 to six points just over three minutes in the game behind a Ben Jessee (Midlothian, VA/Cosby) three pointer and a Ru White (Chesterfield, VA/Allegany) layup. Virginia Wesleyan pushed their lead back out to nine, 47-38, at 15:23. The Tigers went on a 7-0 run behind two Jessee field goals, a Fletcher Lumpkin (Richmond, VA/Mills Godwin) free throw, and a Sasha Obradovic (Belgrade, Serbia/Hawaii Prep) jump shot to cut the lead down to just 47-45.The Marlins responded with the next six points to go up by eight with 9:58 remaining. The Tigers scored the next five points over two minutes to make it just a one possession game, 53-50, with 8:04 left in the game.
With it a six-point game with just under four minutes remaining, the Tigers would make their final push. Khobi Williamson (Norfolk, VA/Maury) scored on a jump shot and Jessee converted on a layup to make it a two-point contest with three minutes left. VWC's DJ Woodmore connected on two free throws, but Harrison George (Raleigh, NC/Leesville) answered with a trifecta to cut the advantage down to 66-65 at the 2:33 mark.
Greg Lewis (Mechanicsville, VA/Hanover) stole the ball from Woodmore on the next possession, which led to a Leon Hargrove (Raleigh, NC/Middle Creek) layup the put the Tigers up 67-66 at the two-minute mark. The Marlins scored the next four points behind a Woodmore layup and two Chris Teasley free throws to go up by three, 70-67, with just 90 seconds remaining. Donald Vaughn fouled George to send him to the charity stripe where he made both attempts.
On the ensuing VWC possession, Teasley had his jumper blocked by Cam Anderson, but VWC would record three total misses and three offensive rebounds on the possession before a foul in the double bonus sent Vaughn to the line for two attempts. Vaughn made one of two to put VWC up 71-69 with 53 seconds remaining. George tied the game at 71-71 off a jumper with 34 seconds to go. With the Marlins having the last possession of the game, Tre Ford fed Brown in the post for a layup as time expired to give the Marlins a 73-71 win.
Virginia Wesleyan was limited to 32% shooting after intermission and went 0-6 from three. The Tigers were on fire from the field in the second half, making 63% of their field goal attempts and 3-of-4 three pointers, but H-SC left 12 points at the free throw line as they shot just 10-22.
George posted a game-high 24 points as he shot 8-11 from the floor and 7-9 from the free throw stripe. Jessee was the lone other Tiger in double digits with 15, finishing the game shooting 6-13 overall and 2-5 from three range. Williamson posted a team-high 10 rebounds.
Vaughn led the Marlins with 23 points, 12 rebounds, and six blocks but committed a game-high seven turnovers. Woodmore contributed 18 points while Tre Ford contributed 11 points, nine rebounds, six assists, and four steals. Teasley added eight rebounds, and Brown had eight points and five caroms.
H-SC shot 47.4% for the game, 37.5% from three (3-8), but went just 14-29 at the free throw line. VWC shot 39.7% overall, 33.3% from deep (4-12), and 15-20 at the foul line. VWC won the rebounding battle 47-35 courtesy of a 21-11 advantage on the offensive boards. The Marlins turned over the ball 20 times compared to just 11 for H-SC. Each team had a block party with Hampden-Sydney recording seven rejects to eight for Virginia Wesleyan.
The Tigers will travel to Guilford College on Wednesday for a pivotal ODAC contest at 7 p.m. Each team sits at 10-4 in the ODAC standings and the winner will be alone in third place in the ODAC and will earn the tiebreaker between the two schools.