VIRGINIA BEACH -- An athletic Wesley College men's basketball team played close to the No. 2 ranked Virginia Wesleyan College squad on Tuesday, before a three-minute scoring spurt produced a clear leader.
That was Virginia Wesleyan.
Junior Chris Astorga (Suffolk, Va./Virginia Beach Cape Henry) started, and ended, a 12-2 scoring run with a pair of three-pointers that created a lead cushion the Marlins rode the rest of the way to a 96-74 non-conference win at the Jane P. Batten Student Center.
Sophomore D. J. Woodmore (Virginia Beach/Landstown), junior Chris Teasley (Newport News, Va./Menchville), and junior Tre' Ford (Falls Church, Va./J.E.B. Stuart) all scored in the run that shook off the Wolverines (3-6) for good. Wesley twice cut the deficit to 11 points in next several minutes on layups by David Langan (Sayreville, N.J./War Memorial), but could not draw closer.
Virginia Wesleyan outscored Wesley 26-11 in the final 11:08 of the game, including 13-2 in the last 6:13 played.
It was a game that showcased athletic skills by both teams, as Paul Reynolds (Smyrna, Del./Smyrna) and Langan used big body moves to score inside, while Darrell Johnson (New Castle, Del./Howard) connected on key outside shots. Johnson hit on 9-of-14 shots and led the Wolverines with 20 points, while Reynolds (7x13) finished with 18 points, and Langan (5x7) tallied 12.
But, a deep Virginia Wesleyan team produced the matching points in an assortment of ways and all five starters scored double-figure numbers, highlighted by senior Donald Vaughn (Woodbridge, Va./Dumfries Potomac) (right) becoming the 23rd member of VWC's 1000-Point Club. Vaughn produced 12 points, but high scoring honors went to Astorga with 23 points. He hit 7-of-13 shots overall, but put through a game-high 4-of-7 triples, hitting a key times to push back the Wolverines. Astorga also led VWC rebounding with eight.
Woodmore and Ford followed with 19 and 17 points, respectively, wowing the crowd with some electrifying moves for scores. Woodmore also dished out four assists and had a pair of steals, while Ford produced four assists and a game-high five steals. He was close to a perfect shooting afternoon as he hit 5-of-5 from the field, including two triples, and was 5-of-7 from the free throw lines.
Teasley added 12 points to the offensive showing, which produced VWC's third 90+ output in the last four games. He also produced a game-high six assists.
There were five ties and four lead changes in the first half, which saw J.J. Bryant (Dover, Del./Dover) tie the score at 18 with 12:39 remaining to be played. Vaughn answered with a layup at the other end and Virginia Wesleyan owned the lead the rest of the game. Wesley closed within a 32-31 score with 6:44 remaining in the half, but consecutive scores by Astorga and Woodmore sparked a 16-5 Marlin run in the next four minutes.
VWC led 48-36 with 2:52 on the clock and 50-40 at halftime. Johnson, Reynolds, and Eric Selby (Wilmington, Del./Howard) took control for Wesley in the opening six minutes of the second half to cut the deficit to three points, but the rally stopped shortly thereafter. Reynolds hit a jumper to keep the Wolverines within four and Astorga answered with the three-pointer that ignited VWC's final pull-away.
Virginia Wesleyan, which recorded 20 assists and 14 steals, and forced 22 Wesley turnovers, won for the eighth consecutive game to close out the 2011 portion of the 2011-12 schedule. The Marlins have averaged 93.7 points in their last four games, while limiting foes to 67.0.
Virginia Wesleyan competes again on Sunday, Jan. 1, hosting Lynchburg College's Hornets at 2 p.m. in and Old Dominion Athletic Conference game at the Batten Center.