The men’s basketball team competed against two other Division III teams at Virginia Wesleyan’s Marlin Tip-Off Tournament this weekend. They lost to the host school 91-60 but managed to beat Delaware Valley College in the consolation game 67-57, resulting in a record of 1-1. There were a total of four teams at the Tournament.
Virginia Wesleyan, which has qualified for the NCAA championship for the past four seasons, boasted a strong offense that dominated the court on Saturday, Nov. 15, scoring 14 three-point goals and heralding a 30-point lead at the first half.
“Virginia Wesleyan is a very good team, and they shot the ball very well against us,” junior forward Bobby Brackett said. “It’s hard beating any team when they have a shooting night like that.”
The score was tied 7-7 in the first half when a 20-5 run from Virginia Wesleyan sent them into the lead. Freshman guard Eric Murdock Jr. managed to score a lay-up afterwards, but that was not enough to curb things in the College’s favor.
At the end of the first half, Virginia Wesleyan led 56-26.
Despite the difficult opponent, the College managed to claw back in the middle of the second half, rallying in the first eight minutes for a series of impressive runs that would cut the deficit to 60-45.Ten of the 19 points scored in those minutes were made by Brackett.
But this valiant effort was not enough to thwart the VWC offense, which followed the Lions’ surge with an 11-0 run which snared them a victory.
Brackett was the top scorer and rebounder of the night, with 20 points and 15 rebounds. Senior guard and co-captain Jayson Johnson also broke into the double digits with a total of 15 points and three assists.
In spite of the defeat, the College swung around and beat Delaware Valley College on Sunday, Nov 16.
Delaware had a 13-8 lead at the beginning of the first half, but the Lions quickly tied it up. A significant 18-6 run at the end of the first half brought the Lions into the lead.
A three-pointer from Johnson, a long-distance shot from senior forward and co-captain Skyelar Ettin and a jumper from sophomore guard Eric Klacik, who also converted all his free throws after he was fouled, helped propel the Lions to a 42-30 lead over the Delaware Valley Aggies at the break.
Brackett noted Johnson, Ettin and Klacik’s importance in Sunday’s game.
“Without all three of them playing that well, we don’t win the game,” Brackett said.
Midway through the second half, Delaware Valley scored 10 unanswered points that narrowed the gap to just six points, but a three-pointer from Klacik stifled their progress. A series of free throws clinched the win for the Lions.
Klacik, Ettin and Johnson all got doubles: Klacik got 17 points, Ettin got 16 and Johnson got 12.
Brackett attributed the success Sunday to experience and strong defense.
“Playing great defense and rebounding the ball is what gets us going on offense,” Brackett said. “Once we all realize that, I think we can have a very good season.”