Wolverines Overcome 15-Point Halftime Deficit to Shock No. 2 Virginia Wesleyan

Photo Credit: Gary Emeigh
Photo Credit: Gary Emeigh

DOVER, Del. - The Wesley College men's basketball team opened their season with an exclamation point, earning a 92-91 victory over No. 2 Virginia Wesleyan College on Sunday afternoon in Dover.

Trailing by a point with 11 seconds left, the Wolverines turned to senior leader Anthony Bowers. The guard drove the length of the floor and floated up a contested layup. The shot went off the back of the iron but was snatched by Rasahn Brinkley who put away the follow to give the Wolverines a lead with 1.9 seconds to go. Brinkley was fouled on the play, and deliberately missed the ensuing foul shot, forcing the Marlins to heave a desperation full court shot that missed, giving Wesley the win.

JW Lawson led all scorers with 33 points and notched 11 rebounds for a double-double, carrying the Wesley offense through the first half with 25 of the team's 44 points in the initial frame. Anthony Bowers scored 14, with all of them coming in the second half as he led the team down the stretch. Rasahn Brinkley tallied 17 points and 10 boards to earn a double-double in his first game as a Wolverine. Chris Scott added nine point on 3-of-5 shooting from behind the arc.

As a team, Virginia Wesleyan shot 65.6% in the first half (21-for-32) including an 11-for-16 clip from behind the arc. The Wolverines did their best to keep up with the Marlins' torrid pace on offense, but could only manage 44 first half points as the Marlins tallied a whopping 59 through the first 20 minutes. At the half, the Navy and White found themselves in a 15-point hole.

In the second half, the Wolverines came out strong, opening the frame on a 9-4 run to cut the lead down to 10 points. The Marlins stretched their advantage back to 15 with 9:30 remaining, but the Wolverines kept coming.

With 6:14 remaining, the Wolverines began to feed Anthony Bowers. The senior isolated his defender on the perimeter and drove to the hoop for an easy lay-in, cutting the deficit to 10. On the next possession, he did the same thing to bring Wesley within single-digits. After a three-pointer from Scott, Bowers scored six straight Wesley points to cut the lead to 88-84 with 3:11 to go. 

An offensive rebound and putback for Wayne Lennon cut the lead to just two points, and after a quick stop Wesley tied the game on another Bowers layup. With 2:31 remaining the Wolverines had erased a 15-point deficit and knotted the score at 88-88.

With 1:03 remaining, Kendric Washington earned a trip to the foul line for the Marlins, but came away with only one of his two free throws. On the ensuing offensive possession, Bowers drove to the rack again and this time was hammered with a foul, sending him to the foul line. Two free throws put the Wolverines ahead 90-89 with 47 seconds remaining. 

In the final seconds, VWC's Tim Jones hit a baseline floater to give the Marlins the lead, but the Wolverines were ready to answer. The team called Bowers' number again, but it was Brinkley who came away with the game-winning basket on the follow.

The Wolverines improve to 1-0 on the young season, and gave new Head Coach Dean Burrows a feather in his cap with his first career collegiate coaching win. In the pre-game, the Wolverines honored former Head Coach Jerry Kobasa, giving the game extra significance.

Wesley will return to action on Friday, November 20 when they travel to Stockton University to take on Gwynedd-Mercy in the Osprey Classic. The Wolverines play a six-game string of games on the road and return home on December 18 to face Southern Virginia.