VIRGINIA BEACH -- Bad luck was the only luck that Virginia Wesleyan College's Marlins experienced in the first half against Hampden-Sydney College's Tigers on Wednesday.
Marlins rally for 66-63 over Hampden Sydney
Trademark three-pointers would not fall (1-of-10), free throws went everywhere but through the hoop (2-of-10), and uncharacteristic turnovers (10), many of them unforced, all combined to leave the Marlins trailing 27-21 at halftime of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference game at the Jane P. Batten Student Center.
So what did the Marlins do? They made their own luck in the second half by playing more alertly, more determined and saw the effort pay off. It was anything but easy, but Virginia Wesleyan posted a thrilling 66-63 victory over H-SC.
It was a key victory for the Marlins, who entered the game ranked No. 3 in the South in the NCAA's first regional rankings of the season. The Marlins also maintained their position near the top of the ODAC, improving to 10-3 in the loop and to 17-5 overall. H-SC fell to 12-10 overall and to 6-7 in the league.
SeniorD.J.Woodmore(Virginia Beach/Landstown)and sophomoreSedricNady(Virginia Beach/Landstown)turned in standout efforts in the second half to help guide the Marlins to the win, but it was rookieKhoryMoore(Arlington/Wakefield)who stole the spotlight.
Moore scored 16 of his game-high 20 points in the second half, netting eight in an intense final 5:27 of the game to help VWC take the lead for good.
Leon Hargrove (Raleigh, N.C./Middle Creek) gave H-SC a 48-46 lead on a pair of free throws with 6:16 remaining in the game. Nady answered with a triple that returned the lead to VWC, but only for seconds. Mike Murray (Norfolk/Norfolk Christian) connected on another set of freebies to put H-SC on top 50-49 with 4:45 on the clock.
That's when Moore stepped up for VWC. He hit a pair of free throws to give the Marlins a 51-50 lead and seconds later stole the ball and rolled in for a layup to up the lead to 53-50. The Tigers cut the lead when Murray hit 1-of-2 free throws, only to see Nady roll inside for a layup that drew a foul. The three-point play left VWC with a 56-51 lead at 3:33.
H-SC came right back when Murray got the ball to 6-foot-7 Khobi Williamson (Norfolk/Murray) for a jumper that cut the VWC lead to three. After the Tigers pulled within one on a Murray score at 1:16, Woodmore came through big for VWC, launching a nothing-but-net triple that boosted the Marlins into a 60-56 lead.
Moore helped protect the lead in the final seconds by hitting 4-of-4 free throws, helping VWC to a 64-60 lead with 10 seconds. JaVonte Reddick (Richmond/L.C. Bird) hit a three ball for the Tigers with three seconds remaining to cut the spread to one. Woodmore took in a long pass on the ensuing play and drew a foul as he made his way to the basket with a fraction of a second remaining. His two free throws gave the Marlins their final margin of victory.
Wednesday's game extended a series of thrillers between the Marlins and the Tigers. Five of the last six games in the series have been decided by two points or less. The biggest margin of victory was recorded earlier this year when the Marlins won 79-73 at H-SC. VWC has won each of the last six.
While Moore led all scoring with 20 points, Woodmore was a close second with 19 points after scoring 12 in the second half. Nady finished with nine points, tallying eight in the second half, andCameronOwens(Centerville/Centreville)added nine points, netting six in the second half.
Virginia Wesley hit 52% from the field in the second half, including 54% from three-point range. The Marlins also improved dramatically at the free throw lines, connecting on 13-of-16 attempts, led by a 6-of-6 showing by Moore and 5-of-6 by Woodmore. H-SC hit 12-of-16 free throws in the half, led by Murray at 3-of-4.
Williamson led the H-SC effort with 19 points and 10 rebounds. He connected on 9-of-11 field goal attempts. Murray was the only other Tiger in double-figure scoring, finishing with 15 points. Murray and Williamson both scored nine points in the second half to help keep the Tigers in contention.
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