WHITEWATER, Wis. – Virginia Wesleyan and Whitworth traded the lead like Topps Classic cards, extending their NCAA tournament third-round game into overtime before Wesleyan emerged with a 74-71 win on Friday night. Wesleyan, 27-3, advances to face the winner of Friday’s second game between UW-Whitewater and Wheaton College on Saturday.
The teams exchanged the lead six times in the first half, a preview of what would follow. No matter which team would edge ahead, the other stayed close. The Marlins’ largest lead was six, 27-21 on Donald Vaughn’s free throw with 5:03 left in the half. Whitworth managed to edge in front by three once, 16-13 at the 11:13 mark.
The largest lead of the second half was also six points, this time by Whitworth on Jack Loofburrow’s 3-pointer with 9:16 left in the half. That lead lasted less than three minutes.
Felix Friedt’s two free throws with 2:49 left put Whitworth ahead 59-58. Dustin McConnell followed up with a layup to put the Pirates in front 61-58 at 1:44. Rakeem Davis made the second of two free throws to pull VW within 61-59 with 40 seconds left, and Chris Teasley went 2-for-2 at the line with 21 seconds remaining to knot the game at 61 and send the game into overtime.
The extra period followed the pattern set in regulation with seven lead changes in the five minutes. DJ Woodmore’s jumper with 1:23 put Wesleyan in front 68-67. Friedt responded for Whitworth with a layup at 0:51 to put them in front 69-68. Back to VW, and a Donald Vaughn jumper for a 70-69 lead at 0:31. Whitworth replied with a Wade Gebbers layup to pull in front 71-70 with 0:19 on the clock. And it was Teasley again, with the junior guard hitting a jumper to make it 72-71 Wesleyan with 10 seconds left. Wesleyan forced a Pirate turnover with three seconds left, and Whitworth fouled, sending Woodmore to the line where he hit the final two points of the game.
Teasley led all scorers with 27 points, with Vaughn adding 20 and Woodmore 16 for Virginia Wesleyan. Davis led the Marlins with eight rebounds. Friedt notched a double double for Whitworth, with 25 points and a game high ten rebounds. Loofburrow added 13, Gebbers 12 and Idris Lasisi 11 in support of Friedt.