Marlins Hold on to Advance to ODAC Quarters
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – The No. 5 seeded Virginia Wesleyan College men's basketball team could not put away No. 12 Bridgewater College until the final minutes of the game Monday in the first round of the ODAC tournament, an 80-71 Marlin win.
Teams tend to play their best ball in the ODAC tournament when it is win or go home, and that is exactly what Bridgewater did after falling in the regular season matchup 94-62.
The Marlins trailed just once in the first half, 2-0, but could not assume more than a seven point lead in the first half. Bridgewater held the Marlins to just 28 points in the first half, limiting the hosts to a 9-34 mark (26.5%) from the field.
Virginia Wesleyan took its largest lead of the contest at the 10:32 mark of the second half, going up 50-36 on a 3-pointer by Tim Jones.
Bridgewater started to cut into the lead, scoring the next seven points to cut the deficit to just seven points with 8:57 to play. Keonte Dennis and Bryce Boggs scored two points each before a Kevin Saylor three ended the run.
The two squads went back and forth over the next several minutes with the Marlins holding a 63-52 lead with 5:18 to play.
Bridgewater posted its second 7-0 run of the game to put the pressure on Virginia Wesleyan. Saylor connected on a three off a Boggs assist to make the score 63-55. Dennis followed with a pair of made free throws on the next Eagle possession.
Bridgewater forced VWC into a turnover, racing down the court for a Boggs layup, cutting the margin to just four points, 63-59, with 3:27 to play.
Khory Moore broke the Bridgewater run with six-straight points to put Virginia Wesleyan up 69-59 with 1:57 to play. The Eagles could get no closer than seven points the rest of the way.
Saylor led Bridgewater (6-20) with 32 points and five rebounds to go with 12 points and three assists from Boggs.
Moore finished with 27 points for the Marlins. He moved into second place on the Virginia Wesleyan all-time scoring list on Monday, passing D.J. Woodmore '14. Keijon Honore and Jones had 13 points each to go with 11 rebounds from Kaelin Poe.
The Marlins took advantage of the turnover margin, committing just seven turnovers while forcing Bridgewater into 16 on the evening.
No. 5 Virginia Wesleyan (18-8) advances to the ODAC Quarterfinals to face No. 4 Lynchburg College (16-9) Thursday at 3 p.m. in the Salem Civic Center. The Marlins and Hornets split the regular season series with both teams winning on their home courts.