First Half Run Pushes Marlins past Hornets 86-78

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First Half Run Pushes Marlins past Hornets 86-78

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. -- The Virginia Wesleyan men's basketball team took advantage of a 17-2 first-half run to pull ahead of Lynchburg College, defeating the Hornets 86-78 in Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) action. The win is the 34th straight for the Marlins in the series with Lynchburg.

Virginia Wesleyan led 18-17 with 8:47 to play in the first half when A.J. Hamilton connected on a pair of free throws to put Lynchburg back out in front. A three-pointer from Jay Allen a minute later netted the Hornets a four-point edge at 22-18. Layups by Allen and Alex Graves finished off a brief 9-3 run as the guests led 26-21 with 6:13 to play until intermission.

That is when the important Marlin run occurred. Kaelin Poe converted an old-fashioned three-point play, followed by a Justin Watson three-pointer which put VWC back in front 27-26. Another three, this time by Tim Jones, put Virginia Wesleyan up four points.

Another traditional three-point play on a dunk by Poe capped off the run as Virginia Wesleyan led 38-28 with 2:32 to play before the break. Khory Moore tallied five points during the stretch to set up Poe's dunk.

Lynchburg trailed 40-33 at halftime, but fought back to take the lead twice in the final period. The largest of those two leads was a two-point margin, coming at 57-55 with 10 minutes to play, as Zack Burnett knocked down a long three-pointer.

Virginia Wesleyan scored seven-straight after Burnett's three, trifectas from Keijon Honore and Justin Watson along with a Watson free throw to pull ahead once more, 62-57, with 8:28 to go. Lynchburg would get no closer than two the rest of the way.

Burnett led all scorers with 28 points to go along with a team-high seven rebounds for Lynchburg (12-5/5-3). His impressive effort was helped by an 8-for-12 performance from distance. Graves tallied 16 points and seven rebounds while Allen contributed 13 points, four rebounds and three assists off the bench.

Moore paced Virginia Wesleyan with 22 points, converting on all eight free-throw chances, to go with a team-leading four assists. Watson finished with 18 points while Poe poured in 16.

Virginia Wesleyan (12-5/7-1) travels to Randolph-Macon College (8-8/4-3) Wednesday for a 7 p.m. start.