Virginia Wesleyan enters NCAA tournament as ODAC champion
SALEM, Va. – 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 turned back upstart Randolph College 65-61 for the ODAC title Sunday at the Civic Center.
VWC (25-3) will find out Monday who it will play in the NCAA tournament first round.
For now the Marlins will savor the win which started to take shape in the final 10 minutes of the game. After Tre' Ford (Falls Church, Va./J.E.B. Stuart ) tied the game at 46 on a layup, the Marlins took the lead for good on a free throw by Chris Teasley (Newport News, Va./Menchville), followed by a dunk from senior Donald Vaughn (Woodbridge, Va./Dumfries Potomac).
Randolph (15-14), playing in its second straight ODAC title game, stayed close, creeping within a point after Colton Hunt (Whittier, N.C./Smoky Mountain) 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 (Richmond, Va./J.R. Tucker) 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 (Virginia Beach/Landstown) added two big free throws with eight seconds remaining to give VWC its final margin of victory.
Randolph had the ball for the final seconds, but when Hunt let the ball fly toward the basket, VWC's Vaughn aired with it to take the ball away.
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 (Suffolk, Va./Virginia Beach Cape Henry Collegiate) added nine points and a team-leading nine rebounds. Vaughn also recorded two blocks and four steals.
Hunt, selected as the tournament's Most Valuable Player, hit for 32 points, nailing 11-of-26 field goal attempts. He also had nine rebounds. Derrick Woods-Morrow (Greensboro, N.C./Northeast Guilford) added 15 points and a game-leading 11 rebounds.
Virginia Wesleyan controlled the ball impressively under pressure and recorded only three turnovers. Randolph finished with 11 turnovers. Both teams fared well from the charity stripes, with Randolph hitting 14-of-17 attempts, led by Hunt's 9-of-10, and VWC hit 13-of-19, led by Woodmore's 6-of-6 showing.
2012 ODAC All-Tournament Team
Colton Hunt (Randolph, selected tournament MVP)
D.J. Woodmore (Virginia Wesleyan)
Chris Astorga (Virginia Wesleyan)
Derek Woods-Morrow (Randolph)
Donald Vaughn (Virginia Wesleyan)