SALEM, Va. -- Randolph-Macon College's Yellow Jackets hit on 9-of-10 free throw attempts in overtime Sunday to help secure a hard-fought 81-74 overtime victory over Virginia Wesleyan College's Marlins in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference championship game at the Civic Center.
While R-MC, ranked No. 1 nationally, improves to 26-2 and earns the league's automatic berth in the upcoming NCAA Division III national championship tournament, the Marlins wait until Monday for a possible at-large berth. VWC, which fell for the third time this season to R-MC, is now 23-5.
Sophomore Kaelin Poe (Greensboro, N.C./Hampton Kecoughtan, Va.) scored on two free throws in the overtime period for the Marlins, who also received a pair of triples from junior Nick Doyle (Franklin/Southampton). But, R-MC's ability to connect from the stripes was key, not only in the overtime, but throughout the game. The Jackets hit on 23-of-28 attempts, led by a 10-of-10 showing from Chris Hamilton. Virginia Wesleyan attempted 17 free throws and hit 13, led by sophomore Tim Jones (Richmond/Henrico) and Poe with three each.
Virginia Wesleyan, which played without injured senior Greg Mongtomery (Virginia Beach/Princess Anne), one of the top scorers and rebounders in the ODAC, led throughout much of regulation play, but R-MC jumped in front on a three-pointer by Marcus Badger with 3:13 on the clock.
A costly Marlin turnover led to a layup by Joe Hassell, giving the Jackets a 66-62 lead with 1:25 remaining to be played. But, after Poe scored for the Marlins, a R-MC turnover gave VWC another scoring chance in the waning seconds. Senior Breven Lyons (Newport News/Warwick)missed a shot, but drilled through a second attempt as the buzzer sounded, sending the game into OT.
R-MC led through the first four and half minutes of the contest, but the Marlins went on an 8-0 run to take the lead, helped by four points from Brandon Mitchell (Albany, Ga./Westover). VWC eventually opened up a 31-18 lead with 6:27 remaining in the first half, led by timely scoring from Jones, Poe, and Mitchell.
Marcus Badger, Joe Hassell, and Lamont Moore pulled things together for the Jackets in the closing minutes however, and R-MC cut the deficit to 39-34 at halftime. VWC repadded its lead to seven points early in the second half, before R-MC chipped away at the lead before Evan Jackson scored to create a 46-all tie. The contest remained close thereafter.
Five Marlins scored in double figures, led by Doyle with 16 points. He connected on 5-of-9 field goal attempts, including 4-of-6 from long range. Jones finished with 14 points, Mitchell and Poe scored 13 each, and Lyons tallied 11.
Badger scored 19 points to lead R-MC scoring, followed by Hassell with 15 points, Hamilton with 12, Akeem Holmes with 11, and Moore with 10.