NEW CASTLE – Virginia Wesleyan College’s men’s basketball Marlins are headed to the 2012 NCAA Division III national championship tournament as a championship team.
For the second time in four seasons, Virginia Wesleyan emerged from a highly competitive Old Dominion Athletic Conference tournament with the league title and the automatic berth in the NCAA event. Virginia Wesleyan(25-3) turned back upstart Randolph College 65-61 for the ODAC title Sunday at the Salem Civic Center.
The Marlins victory started to take shape in the final 10 minutes of the game. After Tre’ Ford tied the game at 46 on a layup, the Marlins took the lead for good on a free throw by Chris Teasley, followed by a dunk from senior Donald Vaughn. Randolph (15-14), playing in its second straight ODAC title game, stayed close, creeping within a point after Colton hit one of his numerous jumpers in the game. But, VWC answered with five straight points from Teasley, including a triple that gave Virginia Wesleyan a 58-53 lead with 5:26 remaining to be played.
The Marlins maintained the five-point spread until the closing minutes when Zach Desgain and Hunt came up with timely baskets for the WildCats to once again cut the spread to one point, 60-59, with 1:44 on the clock. Randolph, which knocked off third-seeded Guilford College and second-seeded Randolph-Macon College to get to the finals, was never able to overtake the Marlins, however, as Teasley added three more points and 2012 ODAC Player of the Year D.J. Woodmore added two big free throws with eight seconds remaining to give VWC its final margin of victory.
Teasley led Virginia Wesleyan with 14 points, hitting 5-of-10 shots field the field. Woodmore added 13 points, hitting 6-of-6 free throws, and Vaughn finished with 12 points, hitting 6-of-9 from the field. Junior Chris Astorga added nine points and a team-leading nine rebounds. Vaughn also recorded two blocks and four steals.
Hunt, selected as the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, hit for 32 points, nailing 11-of-26 field goal attempts. He also had nine rebounds. Over the course of Randolph’s four games in the ODAC tournament, Hunt scored 101 points, setting a new men’s tournament record. Derrick Woods-Morrow (Greensboro, N.C./Northeast Guilford) added 15 points and a game-leading 11 rebounds.