Late Comeback Pushes VWC Past H-SC
Marlins to Face Randolph for ODAC Crown
SALEM, Va. --- Virginia
Wesleyan College battled back from as much as a 10-point deficit
late in the second half in defeating Hampden-Sydney College, 67-65,
in the semifinals finals of the 2012 ODAC Men’s Basketball
Tournament. The Marlins move on to face Randolph College in
the conference title game at 3:30 p.m. It is VWC’s
seventh overall championship game appearance and sixth in the last
Trailing 61-52 with 4:50 to play, the Marlins’ junior Chris Astorga scored eight consecutive points to spark a closing 13-2 run for Virginia Wesleyan (24-3) en route to its victory. The Tigers (19-8) missed five consecutive shots during Astorga's run and six in a span of a little more than three minutes before Harrison George (Raleigh, N.C./Leesville) scored on a layup with 38 seconds.
But, Virginia Wesleyan had surged into the lead at that point as ODAC Player of the Year D.J. Woodmore (Virginia Beach/Landstown) hit a jumper to put the Marlins in front 64-63 and junior Chris Teasley (Newport News, Va./Menchville) rolled in on a layup seconds later to make it a 66-63 VWC lead with 52 seconds on the clock.
After George trimmed the lead to one with 38 seconds on the clock, the Marlins worked the ball, and the clock, until senior Donald Vaughn (Woodbridge, Va./Dumfries Potomac) drew a foul making a move from the right corner. With four seconds remaining in the game, Vaughn hit the second of the two-shot foul to make it a 67-65 Marlin lead.
H-SC had the ball for the final seconds, but had their advance toward the basket halted by a VWC foul near midcourt as the Marlins had fouls to give. The Tigers got the ball back with two seconds on the clock and Ben Jesse (Midlothian, Va./Cosby) took a few steps to the left and fired a long three-point attempt that drew iron but missed the mark and gave Virginia Wesleyan its third victory over H-SC this season, including a pair of two-pointers.
The teams battled through an intense first half that featured seven tied scores before Virginia Wesleyan opened up a 27-22 lead on scoring from junior Tre' Ford (Falls Church, Va./J.E.B. Stuart) and Vaughn. Khobi Williamson (Norfolk, Va./Maury) and George brought the Tigers back shortly thereafter, and the teams played evenly to the halftime buzzer. The half ended with its 11th tie score at 34-all on a Ford jumper.
VWC, which hit only 32% from the field in the first half, continued to have shooting problems in the second half as H-SC took the lead on a score by Ru White (Chesterfield, Va./Allegany) and gradually built up a 56-46 lead with 8:17 remaining in the game. Virginia Wesleyan cut it back to 56-51 a couple minutes later, before Jesse hit a timely triple to help push H-SC out to a 61-52 lead with 4:50 on the clock.
George hit a jumper to keep the spread at nine points, 63-54, entering the final 4:05, which a layup by Astorga started to turn momentum in favor of the Marlins for the remainder of the game.
While Virginia Wesleyan finished hitting only 32.8% from the floor, the Marlins were able to draw fouls in the second half and nailed 14-of-22 free throws. VWC hit 23-of-33 overall, led by Vaughn's 6-of-10 and Astorga's 5-of-7. Hampden-Sydney hit 12-of-20 overall.
Astorga, who had seven points at halftime, finished as the game's leading scorer with 20. Ford added 15, hitting 5-of-9 field goal attempts. Teasley contributed with 14, and Woodmore tallied 10. Vaughn also blocked a game-high four shots, including two big blocks in the final four minutes. Astorga led the Marlins on the backboards with nine rebounds.
George led H-SC with 17 points and nine rebounds. Williamson, who hit 5-of-5 shots, tallied 14 shots, and White finished with 12.
--- This release
is courtesy of the Virginia Wesleyan College sports information