Virginia Wesleyan Athletics
GREENSBORO, N.C. — Long-range shooting iced up at the most inopportune time for the Virginia Wesleyan on Saturday as the No. 2 ranked Marlins lost for the first time this season in 17 games.
Host Guilford College posted a 64-61 Old Dominion Athletic Conference victory, hitting 3-of-4 free throws in the final 26 seconds to record the upset.
Virginia Wesleyan (16-1, 7-1) put up six triples in the last 3:48 and missed on each one, including a couple back-to-back attempts after snaring offensive rebounds. Ironically, the Marlins hit 8-of-17 attempts from three-point range, before the cold ending.
Even without the triples, the Marlins were in position for the win, helped by a layup by rookie DJ Woodmore (Virginia Beach/Landstown) with 1:07 on the clock to tie the game at 61. But, Guilford played it patiently in the ensuing seconds and drew the foul that put Tobi Akinsola (Cary, N.C./Word of God Christian Academy) at the charity stripe where he hit 1-of-2 freebies to put the Quakers in front.
VWC had plenty of time to push ahead, but missed one triple attempt with 15 seconds on the clock and another with eight seconds remaining. A Marlin foul put Brad Monroe (Asheboro, N.C./Eastern Randolph) back on the free throw line and he sealed the win with two freebies for the final 64-61 score.
While the loss was the first of the season, ending a program record 16-0 start, it was Virginia Wesleyan’s third consecutive loss in the series with Guilford. VWC leads that series 29-17 overall, but Quaker teams have dominated in recent years, winning eight of the last nine games played.
Saturday’s game was a toss-up from buzzer-to-buzzer however, as neither team led by more than seven points. Guilford owned the biggest spread, at seven, with 1:41 remaining in the first half, but scoring by Woodmore and Ed Roberts (Chesapeake, Va./Deep Creek) pulled VWC within a 33-30 score by halftime.
Guilford pushed its lead back to five points early in the second half, before the Marlins surged ahead, helped by triples from Tre’ Ford (Falls Church, Va./J.E.B. Stuart)and Woodmore. VWC maintained its lead for several minutes and pushed in front 48-43 on a jumper by Chris Teasley (Newport News, Va./Menchville).
After a Guilford timeout, the Quakers battled back behind Akinsola and tied the game at 49 and 52, before taking a lead on the first three-pointer of the game by Josh Pittman (Archdale, N.C./Trinity), the Quakers’ leading scorer. A three-point play by Teasley returned the lead to VWC however, and the Marlins stayed in front until Akinsola scored again, giving Guilford a 59-58 lead.
The Quakers held the lead through the final 2:34, as VWC’s attempts to jump in front with the long shots failed to produce points.
While VWC did finish with eight three-pointers, compared to three by Guilford, the host Quakers used the free throw lines to their advantage. Guilford connected on 21-of-24 free throw attempts, including 10-of-12 by Akinsola, while VWC hit 11-of-16 free throws.
Woodmore emerged as the leading scorer for Virginia Wesleyan with 15 points, while Ford and Roberts both finished with 11. Woodmore also led VWC rebounding with eight.
Akinsola led Guilford with 26 points, hitting 8-of-11 field goal attempts. He was the only Quaker to hit double-figure scoring. Pittman, who entered the game averaging 17.6 points per outing, finished with three points.
Virginia Wesleyan will attempt to rebound from the loss on Monday, Jan. 24, when the Marlins host the Eagles of Bridgewater College at 7 p.m. at the Jane P. Batten Student Center in an Extreme Food Drive game. Fans attending the game will be admitted free with a can of food.