Steward’s Career-High 23 Help Marlins Avoid Upset Bid

Steward set a career high with 23 points to go with a team-leading nine rebounds
Steward set a career high with 23 points to go with a team-leading nine rebounds

Steward's Career-High 23 Help Marlins Avoid Upset Bid

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Freshman Lamont Steward scored a career-high 23 points on Wednesday night to help the Virginia Wesleyan College men's basketball team avoid an upset bid by Shenandoah University, winning 86-76 in overtime in Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) action.

The Marlins are now 19-0 all-time against Shenandoah with this being the first overtime contest.

Shenandoah led by as many as 21 points in the first half, holding a 26-5 lead with 7:36 to play before halftime. The Hornets took advantage of a tough extended zone to force the Marlins into tough shot attempts and multiple turnovers.

The Hornets continued to lead the duration of regulation, but VWC was able to climb back into the contest behind a 60.7% shooting margin in the second half, posting a 53.8% mark (8-13) from beyond the arc. Multiple possessions Shenandoah would get a basket inside, only for the Marlins to answer with a three, cutting slowly into the lead.

Shenandoah looked as if it would pull off the upset when Malcolm Clark finished off a layup for a 67-62 lead with 2:04 to play.

The Marlins came down the court, and with all eyes on Moore, the leading scorer found Steward at the free throw line for an easy jumper, cutting the deficit back to a single score. Steward stole the ball away from Shenandoah the next time up the floor, sending it ahead to Moore who found Kaelin Poe for a monstrous slam dunk.

Shenandoah called a timeout, getting a good 3-point attempt off afterwards, but it clanked out to Steward with 36 seconds to go. The Marlins milked the clock, looking to score with as little time on the clock as possible. Eventually, the Marlins found Poe in the paint who went up and was fouled.

Poe stepped to the line and knocked down the first free throw to tie the contest for the first time since the game started. He missed the second, where the rebound was corralled by Shenandoah. The Hornets sent the ball up to Dalon McHugh, but his long 3-pointer missed off the front rim.

The Marlins took their first lead of the game early in overtime as Steward connected for another jumper inside. Steward added two more baskets as the Marlins outscored Shenandoah 8-1 to start overtime, with six coming from Steward. The Hornets could get no closer than three points after the early Marlin overtime spurt.

Clark led Shenandoah (9-15/5-10) with a game-high 38 points, half of Shenandoah's total of 76. McHugh added 13 points.

Steward topped his previous high of 15 points with 23 on Wednesday to go with a team-high nine rebounds. Keijon Honore added 20 points and five assists while Moore finished with 18 points and eight rebounds.

Virginia Wesleyan (16-8/9-6) hosts Randolph College (7-17/4-11) Saturday for a 4 p.m. ODAC start on Senior Day. The Marlins will recognize Tim Jones, Justin Watson, Moore, DeLante' Victory, Andre Banks, Aaron Sturdifen, and Kaelin Poe in a pregame ceremony.

Notes

This was the second-straight game missed by senior point guard Tim Jones… Steward led the Marlins in scoring for the first time… Khory Moore (1,944) is just 14 points away from passing D.J. Woodmore '14 (1,957) for second place on the Marlin all-time scoring list… The Marlins are tied for fourth in the ODAC standings. A win on Saturday, companied by a Lynchburg loss, will guarantee an ODAC First Round bye in next week's tournament… The Marlins can be no lower than the fifth seed in the upcoming tournament.