Marlins Capture Roger Taylor Invitational Title

Keijon Honore (L) and Lamont Steward were named to the All-Roger Taylor Invitational Tournament Team
Keijon Honore (L) and Lamont Steward were named to the All-Roger Taylor Invitational Tournament Team

Marlins Capture Roger Taylor Invitational Title

ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. -- The Virginia Wesleyan University men's basketball team captured the Roger Taylor Invitational title on Saturday with an 86-73 non-conference victory over N.C. Wesleyan College.

The win moves the Marlins to 7-0, making the mark set by the 2013-14 team to start a season. Lamont Steward and Keijon Honore led the squad during the tournament, earning all-tournament honors for their two-game efforts.

The Marlins led the duration of the game on Saturday, with the largest lead coming by way of an 18-point margin midway through the second half.

A huge deciding factor in the VWU victory was the Marlin dominance on the glass, outrebounding the Battling Bishops 44-30. The Marlins turned those rebounds into 23 second chance points while NCWC managed just five second chance points.

Percy Burt started the scoring when he grabbed an offensive rebound and scored on a layup. A.J. Frye tied the contest with a layup of his own, but three-pointers from Burt and Keijon Honore quickly put VWU up 8-2.

The Battling Bishops tried to rally, cutting the deficit to 15-14 on a Robert Wilson jumper with 14:07 to go to intermission. The Marlin defense held the hosts scoreless though over the next four minutes while going on a 5-0 run. A Burt layup and Corey Pelham three-pointer accounted for the scoring.

The Marlins continued to score in bunches, going up by double-figures, 40-30, with 3:17 to go until the half on a pair of Steward free throws. VWU maintained the double-digit advantage the remainder of the half.

Chris Braswell made a pair of free throws at 14:10 to bring NCWC within six points, 54-48, but it was the last charge the Battling Bishops would be able to muster.

A 14-2 Marlin run resulted in a 68-50 lead with 10:44 to go, the largest lead of the game for VWU. Steward started the run with a layup, followed by a pair of Tim Fisher free throws to made it a 10-point game again. Another Steward layup put the Marlins up 60-48. Tyree Golston knocked down a three before the Bishops finally managed to pause the VWU 9-0 run with a pair of free throws. A traditional three-point play by Steward and a layup made up the final stretch of the run.

Frye finished with 14 points for N.C. Wesleyan (3-4) while Wilson added 11 points and five rebounds.

Steward finished with a career-high 24 points and nine rebounds while Honore registered 13 points, five rebounds, and three assists. Fisher finished with 10 points and nine rebounds off the bench.

Virginia Wesleyan (7-0) hosts Averett University (4-1) Wednesday for a 7:30 p.m. non-conference start.