VIRGINIA BEACH -- Virginia Wesleyan College's basketball Marlins are headed to the round of 16 for the second consecutive year.
The Marlins will play in a pod that will include Illinois' Wheaton College, Washington's Whitworth College, Wisconsin-Whitewater, and Virginia Wesleyan. Sites of those games, as well as time, will be announced early next week.
For now however, the Marlins are enjoying the second round victory posted before a noisy, overflow crowd at the Jane P. Batten Student Center.
VWC (26-3) bounded out to an 11-5 lead, before the Seahawks (20-8) rallied back to take 14-13 lead on a jumper by Jeff Haus (Pittsburg, Pa./North Allegheny). But once VWC's Donald Vaughn (Woodbridge, Va/Dumfries Potomac) hit a free throw to tie the score and Chris Astorga (Suffolk, Va./Virginia Beach Cape Henry Collegiate) nailed a triple to give VWC a 17-14 lead the Marlins never trailed again.
The Marlins rode an 11-3 surge to push in front 28-17 and VWC went on to post a 30-20 lead by halftime.
But, the Seahawks were not finished, despite falling behind 46-27 with 10:46 remaining to play. St. Mary's began to apply the defensive pressure, forcing VWC turnovers that helped the "Hawks pull all the way back to a 46-40 score with 7:53 to go.
Virginia Wesleyan shook it off however and came back with key buckets from senior Rakeem Davis (Chesapeake, Va./Deep Creek), Ali Brown (Hampton, Va./Kecoughtan), D.J. Woodmore (Virginia Beach/Landstown), and Vaughn to reopen a 60-49 lead with 1:56 to play.
Four Marlins scored in double figures led by Chris Teasley (Newport News, Va./Menchvhille) with 13 points. Vaughn and Brown chipped in with 12 points each and Woodmore tallied 10. He and Brown also pulled down a game-high rebounds each.
Christian MacAuley led St. Mary's with 21 points and eight rebounds. Devon Spencer (Baltimore, Md./Towson Catholic) added 12 points.