Virginia Wesleyan topples Washington & Lee for 14th victory

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VIRGINIA BEACH -- There wasn't any spectacular play in Virginia Wesleyan College's 71-61 Old Dominion Athletic Conference victory over Washington & Lee University on Saturday.

No smashing dunk, no in-the-stands block, no three-point shot from the shadows. 

The Marlins have had their share of those plays this season, but Saturday at the Jane P. Batten Student Center it was a display of depth, confidence and balance that kept No. 3 ranked Virginia Wesleyan a couple steps ahead of a good Generals team most of the game. 

Washington & Lee (10-3, 3-2), led in part by J.D. Ey (Charlotte, N.C./Myers Park) and Larry Whitaker (Bartlett, Ill./Bartlett) in the early going, took the lead and maintained it through the first 11 minutes. But, a pair of free throws by standout rookie DJ Woodmore (Virginia Beach/Landstown), followed by back-to-back baskets from juniors Donald Vaughn (Woodbridge, Va./Dumfries Potomac) and Jason Burns (Clinton, Md./Frederick Douglass),  put Virginia Wesleyan into a lead it never lost.

A Chris Teasley (Newport News, Va./Menchville) triple shortly before halftime gave the Marlins a 28-25 lead at the break, and VWC led throughout the second half en route to its 14th consecutive victory without a loss .. the best start in program history.  The Marlins' win also snapped a five-game winning streak by Washington & Lee, which entered the game riding the momentum of a 93-92 victory over No. 10 ranked Eastern Mennonite University.

Virginia Wesleyan (14-0, 5-0) pushed out to a 42-32 lead on a Teasley layup with 14:31 remaining in the game, but the Generals stayed close with the help of key scoring from Hans Harris (Lansing, Mich./Waverly) and Jon Guest (West Hartford, Conn./Kingswood-Oxford).  But, for nearly every play the Generals made to stay close, the Marlins had the answer to repad the lead.

Junior Art Crew (Williamsburg, Va./Lafayette) and sophomore Chris Astorga (Suffolk, Va./Virginia Beach Cape Henry) were among the Marlins who came through with big scores for Virginia Wesleyan, which led 62-54 with 2:41 on the clock.

Washington & Lee pulled within four points twice down the stretch, but the Marlins scored when they had to, including a pair of big free throws by sophomore Tre' Ford (Falls Church, Va./J.E.B. Stuart)with 41 seconds on the clock.  Four missed shots by the Generals in the waning seconds led to points for the Marlins, who capped scoring on a Woodmore layup with three seconds to play.

Teasley led all scoring with 17 points, hitting 6-of-11 field goals, including three triples.  Astorga added 16 points and Vaughn and Woodmore added 12 points each for the Marlins.  VWC helped its game by dominating the backboards, 45-34, led by Vaughn with 10. Astorga pulled down nine and junior Ali Brown (Hampton, Va./Kecoughtan) came off the bench to record eight rebounds.

Whitaker emerged as the leading scorer for Washington & Lee with 13 points, hitting 6-of-10 field goal attempts.  Guest was the only other General in double-figure scoring, netting 12 points.  Ey finished with eight points and 10 rebounds.

Virginia Wesleyan returns to competition on Wednesday, Jan. 12, hosting the WildCats of Randolph College in an ODAC game beginning at 7 p.m.