From Sweet to Elite: UMW Men's Basketball Tops Va. Wesleyan, 74-70, in NCAA Sectional Semifinal

From Sweet to Elite: UMW Men's Basketball Tops Va. Wesleyan, 74-70, in NCAA Sectional Semifinal

The University of Mary Washington men's basketball continued its ride through the NCAA Division III Tournament on Friday night with a 74-70 victory over Virginia Wesleyan College before a sold-out crowd at the Anderson Center. The Eagles break the school record with their 25th win of the season, and advance to the sectional final on Saturday against Williams College.

The game featured numerous runs by both teams. With the score tied at 10, senior gaurd Bradley Riester and junior forward Taylor Johnson hit back-to-back three pointers to give UMW a six-point cushion with 14:14 left in the first half.

The Marlins answered with eight straight points, including a pair of three pointers from Khory Moore (game-high 30 points) to take the lead at 18-16. The Eagles countered with a 9-0 run of their own, including five points from senior Dajon Daniel, to grab a 25-18 advantage with 9:34 to go.

After a VWC three point play, UMW scored eight straight to lead, 33-21, with 7:47 left, and built the lead to 15 on a pair of Riester free throws with 3:28 remaining. A pair of free throws with 1.2 seconds left trimmed UMW's halftime advantage to 11, at 42-31.

The second half started with a Marlins 14-3 run that tied the score at 45 with 15:35 left. Senior Dylan Farinet answered with a three to give UMW the lead, and the teams traded baskets until a three pointer from Moore and layup from Colby heard gave VWC a five-point cusion with 8:50 to go.

A 6-0 Eagle spurt gave the home team the lead at 59-58 with 6:38 on the clock, and the lead changed hands four times over the next three minutes. With the score tied at 68-68 with 1:32 left, UMW took charge, as senior guard Dom Morra connected for a layup and free throw to build the lead to three, and a pair of Johnson free throws with 17 seconds left pushed the lead to five.

After the Marlins made a pair of free throws, senior guard Marcellus Holley made a free throw to put the game out of reach with six seconds left, giving UMW a 74-70 win.

Riester led UMW with 23 points and seven rebounds, while Johnson scored 15 and grabbed six rebounds. Daniel scored 13 for UMW, while Morra scored nine and Farinet eight, with six rebounds and four assists.

The Eagles shot 44.6% from the field, including 10-31 three pointers, while Va Wesleyan shot 42.6% (26-61), making 7-23 three pointers. The Marlins led in rebounds, 41-34.

Mary Washington will face Williams College, ranked ninth in the nation, on Saturday, with advancement to the Final Four on the line. Tip is set for 7:00 p.m.