UMW Men's Basketball Tops N.C. Wesleyan, 88-81, on Tuesday in Rocky Mount, N.C.

UMW Men's Basketball Tops N.C. Wesleyan, 88-81, on Tuesday in Rocky Mount, N.C.

The University of Mary Washington men's basketball team overcame a two-point halftime deficit to defeat North Carolina Wesleyan College, 88-81, on Tuesday night in Rocky Mount, N.C. The Eagles improve to 3-1 on the season.

The Eagles jumped ahead first, using an Eric Shaw jumper and five points from John Lutkenhaus to lead, 7-2, one minute into action. The Bishops rallied to tie the score at 9-9 with 17:37 to play, and then scored 11 straight to take a 20-11 advantage over the next four minutes.

A Jamal Newton three pointer and an Emerson Burk layup cut the deficit to 20-16, but the margin returned to seven at 24-17 with 11:43 left. A Lutkenhaus three pointer preceded a Johnny Cronin free throw and a Burk basket to cut the deficit to one at 24-23 with 10:14 remaining, but two three pointers from NCWC expanded their lead to 32-25 with 7:31 to go before halftime.

Jacob Williams scored a pair of layups to again cut the deficit to one, at 32-31, with 4:39 on the clock. Shaw hit a three pointer with 2:06 left to tie the score at 36-36, and UMW briefly held the lead after a Cronin basket with 49 seconds left (40-39), but a let three pointer gave NCWC the lead at halftime, 42-40.

In the second half, the Bishops extended the lead to eight at 52-44, before UMW rallied with nine straight points to take the lead at 53-52. NC Wesleyan then responded with a 13-2 run to take a 65-55 lead, their largest of the night, with 10:57 remaining.

Freshman Austin Hall scored eight straight points to get UMW back, and a Brent Mahoney layup with 6:45 gave UMW the lead at 72-70. A Cronin layup pushed the lead to four, and UMW would never trail again, using a Mahoney three pointer with 2:01 left to build an 82-76 lead.

A Mahoney three point play with 1:04 left upped the lead to 85-76, and the Eagles connected on three free throws down the stretch to overcome a Bishops three pointer, giving UMW the 88-81 win.

Shaw led UMW with 19 points, while Hall and Williams each scored 14. Mahoney scored 13, and Cronin added 12, with each grabbing a team-high seven rebounds.

The Eagles shot a blistering 59.3% from the field (35-59), making 9-20 three pointers and 9-14 free throws. NC Wesleyan shot 44.9% from the field (31-69), connecting for 12-30 three pointers and 7-11 free throws. UMW led in rebouns, 40-27.

UMW will be back in action next Wednesday when they host Frostburg State University in the Capital Athletic Conference opener at 8:00 p.m.