Virginia Wesleyan off to great start
Notes: Fredette notched 47 points in BYU’s win against Utah
Brian Lester, NCAA.com
Virginia Wesleyan head coach Dave Macedo has quite a track record in his 11 seasons at the school. He has guided the Marlins to six consecutive NCAA tournaments, including a Division III national title in 2006.
This year’s team is on a successful track as well. The Marlins are ranked second in the nation and unbeaten through 16 games. Defense is a huge part of that success.
“You have to be able to play great half-court defense,” Macedo said. “We have performed at a high level, but we can always improve.”
The Marlins used great defense to dodge a bullet in a 53-50 win against Randolph College last week, forcing a turnover with just seconds remaining to seal the deal. They have forced 301 turnovers this season and are giving up only 62.1 points per outing.
VWC’s ability to defend the 3-point shot has played a role in its ability to defend. The Marlins are forcing teams to shoot 30.5 percent from beyond the arc.
“Our philosophy is that we are very afraid of teams making 3-point shots against us,” Macedo said. “We have been able to contest a lot of shots and not give teams good looks at the basket.”
A balanced offense has also been huge for VWC. Four players are averaging at least 11 points per game. Sophomore forward Chris Astorga is averaging 12.4 points per outing to lead the attack.
As great as the Marlins have been, Macedo isn’t about to let his team sit back and take satisfaction in being undefeated.
“We have a good team but we are capable of playing a lot better,” Macedo said. “We want to be able to execute and be more consistent. We haven’t hit our stride yet, but we want to put ourselves in a position to make noise in the tournament.”
Need To Know
• Jimmer Fredette grabbed the headlines in 10th-ranked Brigham Young’s 104-79 win against Utah, scoring 47 points in the win at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City. But teammate Jackson Emery also made his presence felt. Emery came up with the 196th steal of his career in the first half, passing BYU legend Danny Ainge for first on steals list. Emery is averaging 2.7 steals per game. That wasn’t his only accomplishment. Emery scored 20 points in the win and his 3-pointer with 6:55 left in the game gave him 1,000 points for his career.
• The University of Mary has only been an NCAA Division II team since 2006, but for the second time during that stretch, the Marauders knocked off a top 10 team, stunning No. 10 Minnesota State 84-69 on Saturday in a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference game.
• Anthony Moody and Jordan Wilhelm combined to knock down 13 treys as the Marauders pulled off their biggest upset since dropping No. 8 St. Cloud State in 2007. Moody drilled eight treys and torched the Mavericks for 31 points. Wilhelm knocked down five treys and finished with 17 points. The Marauders extended their win streak. Moody, the leading scorer in the conference (19.7 points per game) scored 24 of his 31 points in the first half as Mary took a 48-16 lead into halftime.
• Mike Green registered his second straight double-double and Christopher Newport University pulled off an upset against No. 22 Ferrum on Saturday at the Freeman Center. The senior forward tallied 24 points and 12 rebounds for the Captains in a USA South Conference battle. The Captains were also stellar on defense as they forced the Panthers to miss 17 straight shots in the first half and took a 37-32 lead into halftime.
• Thomas Tibbs nailed a jumper at the buzzer as the College of Staten Island survived 109-107 triple-overtime thriller against Baruch Friday night. Tibbs, who hit a trey that sent the game into a second overtime, played 51 minutes and finished the exhausting night with 31 points, seven assists and five rebounds.
• Alaska-Anchorage had its 12-game win streak snapped in an 81-75 road loss to Western Washington despite a game-high 27 points and six rebounds from junior center Taylor Rhode.
• Junior guard BJ Smith launched a shot from 65 feet away and banked off the glass and in as Widener rallied from a 16-point deficit and topped Lebanon Valley 71-70 in a Commonwealth Conference battle Saturday in Baltimore.
• Colorado won its first game against a ranked team in nearly seven years, knocking off No. 21 Kansas State 74-66 on Wednesday.
• After winning 25 consecutive games, Duke had its second-longest win streak in school history end in a 66-61 loss to Florida State Wednesday night in Tallahassee.
• Associate head coach Tony Jones earned his first win while filling in for Bruce Pearl, leading the Volunteers to a 67-64 win against Vanderbilt.
• Jason Adams dropped in 31 points and No. 22 Missouri Southern held off Nebraska-Omaha 98-95 Saturday at Sapp Fieldhouse, notching its best start in conference play since the 1999-00 campaign when it started 16-1.