LYNCHBURG, Va. -- A game of late scoring runs favored No. 8 ranked Virginia Wesleyan College on Wednesday in men's basketball action at Lynchburg College where the visiting Marlins posted a thrilling 83-82 victory.
Virginia Wesleyan (10-2, 2-1), which has now won 29 straight games in the series with the Hornets, led 55-44 with 16:42 remaining to be played in the game when Lynchburg (8-4, 1-2) sparked an impressive rally. In a little more than seven minutes the Hornets took advantage of a cold shooting Virginia Wesleyan squad to produce a 19-3 run the pushed the host team into a 63-58 lead with 9:23 on the clock.
Junior forward Austen Arnold (Gate City/Gate City) scored nine points and Zach Burnett (Fairfax/Fairfax) added six in the Hornets' rally against a VWC team missed seven straight shots, including four triple attempts. In addition to the missed shots, the Marlins turned the ball over six times.
Lynchburg nursed its lead to a 67-61 score with 7:57 remaining to be played when Virginia Wesleyan found its own scoring spurt to regain the lead for good. The Marlins outscored the Hornets 13-0 in a little more than three minutes to move in front 74-67 with 4:49 on the clock. Five Marlins scored in the run, led by sophomore Khory Moore(Arlington/Wakefield School) with four points, all from the free throw line, and senior Cam Owens(Centreville/Centreville) with three on a timely triple.
Key scoring by senior Breven Lyons(Newport News/Warwick), Owens and Moore in the ensuing minutes supplied the Marlins with crucial lead padding points in the final seconds. Sophomore Tim Jones(Richmond/Henrico)hit a pair of freebies to give the Marlins an 83-79 advantage with eight seconds remaining, before a triple by Lynchburg's Daniel Rowe (Roanoke/Hidden Valley) with three seconds on the clock produced the final score.
Virginia Wesleyan led throughout most of the game, jumping out to an 8-2 lead in the first half. The Marlins led by as many as nine points in the half before Lynchburg closed the gap to 42-37 by halftime.
Moore started second half scoring by drilling through a triple and went on to score the first 10 points of the half for the Marlins, who led 52-44 with 16:56 on the clock. Seconds later Lyons nailed another triple to extend VWC's lead to 55-44, before Lynchburg sparked its second-half rally.
Moore, who scored 37 points on Saturday in a loss at Emory University, found his range again on Wednesday, hitting for a game-high 27 points to lead the Marlins to the highest point total scored so far this season against Lynchburg. Wednesday's game was a showdown between the ODAC's leading offensive and defensive squads. While VWC was averaging 80.3 points per game, Lynchburg, ranked No. 5 nationally in defense, was allowing just 57.4 points each contest.
Moore connected on 10-of-10 free throws to help his scoring total for the Marlins, who also received 12 points from Lyons, 11 from Jones and 10 from Owens. VWC helped itself with strong showing from three-point range, hitting 11-of-29 attempts, and from the charity stripes, nailing 20-of-22 shots. Moore connected on 5-of-8 triples, while Lyons hit 3-of-6.
Rowe led Lynchburg scoring with 24 points, connecting on 9-of-13 shots. Burnett finished with 14 points, Arnold tallied 13, and Omar Kemp (Fredericksburg/Riverbend) scored 12 for the Hornets, who enjoyed a solid showing from the field, hitting 57.4% overall.
Virginia Wesleyan returns to competition on Saturday, Jan. 10, hosting the Generals of Washington and Lee University in and ODAC contest beginning at 2 p.m. at the Jane P. Batten Student Center.