Another postseason run has Men’s Basketball back in familiar tournament territory
By Michael Willson
The Virginia Wesleyan Men’s Basketball team competed this past weekend for its first two rounds of the NCAA Division III Tournament at William Paterson University. The first game was against the Blue Streaks of John Carroll University, on Friday, March 6. The Marlins won with a score of 101-86. The second game was a win over the host team, the Pioneers of William Paterson University, on Saturday, March 7. The Marlins ended that game with a close score of 77-74.
“I think going on the road in the NCAA Tournament is a tough challenge, and we really need to come together as a team and play a consistent forty minutes of basketball,” Head Coach Dave Macedo said.
In addition to facing the challenge of opening on the road, the team started the tournament shortly after losing the ODAC Championship game against the Yellow Jackets of Randolph Macon College.
“Our biggest challenge will be moving forward from a tough loss, turning the page, and just getting back to work and grounding it out. You can’t worry about a tough loss, no matter where we travel or if we’re home. We got a tournament to play and it’s a new season,” Assistant Coach Rhett Bonner said.
The team has moved on from that tough loss and showed it through several highlights in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament. The sophomore class showed its skills against William Paterson. Guard Khory Moore scored a career-high 41 points. This was the second-highest number of points scored by an individual player in a game in Virginia Wesleyan history. Kaelin Poe led his team with a career-high 10 rebounds and three blocks.
In addition to having a strong start in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament, the team has also had a successful season overall, winning a total of twenty-one games in the regular season and two more in the ODAC Championships.
“They have a lot to be proud of and they earned the right to be in the NCAA Tournament, which is a difficult thing. Now it’s just a new season, and we need to be playing our best basketball,” Macedo said.
Virginia Wesleyan College is no stranger to the NCAA Tournament. It has made 10 NCAA appearances in the past 12 years and won the Tournament in 2006.
“Being involved at Virginia Wesleyan, [the NCAA Tournament] is kind of part of tradition. So it’s kind of expected, but it’s another good feeling,” senior guard/forward Greg Montgomery said.
This season, the Marlins’ roster consists of 19 players, including eight new players. Junior guard/forward Nick Doyle transferred to Virginia Wesleyan College last fall from Division I Delaware State University.
“The thing I appreciate the most is probably the coaching staff and my teammates. Just how they hold us all accountable and make us practice hard every single day and make us understand that if you want something, you got to put in the work to get it. It’s a different atmosphere that I really appreciate,” said Doyle.
The Marlins will be heading into the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament for the fifth straight year on Friday, March 13. They will take on the Red Devils of Dickinson College in Ashland at Randolph-Macon College.