Junior guard T.J. Jones hit a three pointer with two seconds remaining to give the University of Mary Washington men's basketball team a 68-67 victory over 18th ranked Virginia Wesleyan College on Wednesday night at Ron Rosner Arena. The Eagles improve to 6-3 on the season.
The Eagles grabbed command early in the contest, scoring the first nine points over the first five minutes for a 9-0 lead. A pair of Marlin three pointers cut the deficit to three, but UMW answered with a 4-1 run with two baskets from Brent Mahoney to up the lead to six, at 15-9.
The Marlins trimmed the lead to two, but freshman Jacob Williams hit a three pointer to push the Eagle lead to 18-13. The Marlins then made a run of their own, scoring six straight to take a 21-18 lead.
Freshman guard Mark Madison then hit six straight free throws to give the Eagles a 24-22 lead with 6:01 in the half, and Madison then connected on a three pointer to push the lead to 27-22. Va. Wesleyan trimmed the lead to one, at 29-28, with 1:42 to play, but Madison hit another three pointer and freshman Johnny Cronin capped the first half with a jumper to give the Eagles a six-point cushion at intermission, 34-28.
The Marlins opened the second half with five straight points to cut the score to 34-33, but Cronin scored to stop the streak.Cronin hit another layup with 14:32 left to return the lead to three, and Jones followed with a three pointer before Madison hit a pair of free throws to give UMW an eight point lead, at 43-35, with 13:01 left.
Virginia Wesleyan scored nine straight points, and led, 44-43, with 10:46 to go, but Jones hit another key three pointer to give UMW the lead. The action turned up offensively, as the teams traded baskets and the lead for the next five minutes, and the score stood tied at 56 with 4:29 remaining.
Jones hit three free throws and a jumper in a 5-1 spurt that gave the Eagles a 61-58 lead with 2:46 left, but a free throw and layup tied the score with 2:08 left, 61-61. Cronin and Madison hit clutch shots in the final minutes, but the Marlins took the lead on five straight points from Khory Moore, and the Marlins led, 67-65, with 18 seconds left.
After the Eagles called for their final timeout, Jones took the ball at the top of the key and drove right, connecting on the game winning three with two seconds left. The Marlins' last second shot from halfcourt missed to give the Eagles the win.
The Eagles shot 38.5% from the field (20-52), but connected on 9-19 three pointers, and made 19-22 from the free throw line. Virginia Wesleyan shot 35.7% from the field (20-56), including 8-21 three pointers, and went 19-27 from the charity stripe. The Marlins held a 37-34 rebounding edge.
Jones led the Eagles with 22 points on 7-15 shooting, including 5-8 three pointers, and 3-4 from the line, to go with four rebounds. Madison scored 19, making all three of his three point attempts and went 8-8 from the free throw line. Cronin scored 14 points to go with four rebounds and three steals. Moore had 19 for the Marlins.
The Eagles will return to action on Friday, when they visit Division I William and Mary in Williamsburg. Tipoff is set for 7:00 p.m.