Virginia Wesleyan Edges Guilford in Overtime in ODAC Men's Hoops Opener

Jaylen Gore '21 (l), Marcus Curry '19 (Andy Gore photos)
Jaylen Gore '21 (l), Marcus Curry '19 (Andy Gore photos)

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Lamont Steward's two free throws with 55 seconds left in overtime lifted Virginia Wesleyan University to an 80-77 Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) basketball win over visiting Guilford College Sunday in both teams' league opener. The Quakers (3-3, 0-1 ODAC) dropped their third game of the season by three or fewer points.

After the Marlins' R.J. Nicholson's dunk and free throw with six seconds left in regulation forced the extra stanza, the hosts built a four-point overtime lead. Guilford rallied to even the score at 77 on a Carson Long tip-in, but Steward broke the game's 16th and final tie on the next possession. The Quakers had three unsuccessful shots in overtime's final minute. Steward made one of two free throws with one second left to provide the final margin.

The tightly contested game featured 18 lead changes. Guilford opened the day's largest lead with just under five minutes left in regulation on a Will Leckonby three-pointer that opened a 65-56 margin. Virginia Wesleyan (2-2, 1-0 ODAC) outscored Guilford, 15-6, in regulation's final 4:35 with Nicholson notching the spurt's final five points.

Virginia Wesleyan's Tim Fisher paced five Marlins in double-figure scoring with a game-high 20 points. He made eight-of-11 shots from the floor and scored 10 points in both halves. Steward tallied five of his 17 points in overtime and added six rebounds. Keijon Honore hit for 17 points and Nicholson finished with 12. Percy Burt contributed 10 points, a team-high 11 rebounds, and three blocks.

Guilford senior Marcus Curry totaled 18 points, seven rebounds, and three assists before fouling out in overtime. Kyler Gregory contributed 15 points, nine boards, and three steals. Carson Long added 13 points and a game-best 12 rebounds for his third double-double of the year. Jaylen Gore filled up the stat sheet with 11 points, five rebounds, and four assists.  The Quakers held a 48-35 rebounding edge but turned the ball over 20 times to the Marlins' 13.

Coach Tom Palombo's club visits North Carolina Wesleyan College Wednesday (11/28) at 7:30 p.m.