After back-to-back torrid shooting performances, the University of Mary Washington men's basketball team was forced to grind out a victory at Randolph College on Saturday afternoon, winning a half-court offense-inspired 51-50 decision to improve to 9-1 on the season. The win ties the best 10-game start in school history, as the 2002-03 team started 10-1 en route to a 24-5 season.
In a game where halfcourt offense was the standard, neither team shot particularly well, as the Wildcats shot just 33.3% from the floor (15-45), making 10-27 three pointers, and going 10-18 from the line. The Eagles shot just 31.1% (19-61) and made just 4-28 three pointers, but fortunately forced 18 turnovers while commiting just 10.
In the first half, the Wildcats seized control late, grabbing a seven-point lead at 22-15 with 4:09 remaining. But UMW answered with the final seven points of the half, sparked by a Marcellus Holley three pointer, a Dajon Daniel jumper, and a pair of Bradley Riester free throws, to tie the score at intermission.
After Randolph scored the first four points of the second half, UMW used a three pointer and layup from taylor Johnson to grab the lead at 27-26. After the lead changed hands several times, UMW used a 10-0 run to take a nine-point lead with 8:18 remaining. The catalyst in the run was Daniel, who scored six straight points.
A pair of three pointers cut into the Eagle lead, but a three-point play from Riester returned the lead to six at 43-37 with 6:21 to play. An 8-2 Randolph run tied the score at 45 with 4:08 left, but a 6-1 Eagle spurt returned the lead to five at 51-46 with 2:14 remaining.
The Wildcats scored the next four points to cut the defricit to 51-50, but neither team scored in the final 1:16, handing the Eagles the one-point victory.
Riester led the Eagles with 15 points on 5-8 shooting, while Johnson collected a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Daniel was the third Eagle in double figures, scoring 10 points. UMW held a 42-40 advantage on the glass, including 11 offensive rebounds.
Mary Washington will return to action on January 4 when the Eagles host York College in Capital Athletic Conference action from the Anderson Center at 3:00 p.m.