SALEM, Va. — Senior forward Roy McMillan (Raleigh, N.C./Broughton) registered 26 points and 11 rebounds, and sophomore forward Curtis Mitchell (Chevy Chase, Md./Georgetown Prep) set the program single-season blocks record, as the fifth-seeded Washington and Lee men's basketball team upended fourth-seeded Virginia Wesleyan, 77-69, in the quarterfinals of the ODAC Tournament on Thursday at the Salem Civic Center.
The Generals (19-7) held a two-point edge (25-23) with 10:32 left in the opening half, but then an old-fashioned three-point play by senior guard Devin Kearns (Cibolo, Texas/Samuel Clemens), and a triple by sophomore guard William Brueggeman (Houston, Texas/Strake Jesuit College Prep) stretched the margin to 31-23 at the 8:28 mark.
The lead was down to five, 31-26, a little over a minute later, but the Blue and White went on a 10-0 spurt in 1:55 of game action to extend the margin to 41-26 with 5:18 to go in the period. During the run, Mitchell recorded four points and McMillan and junior guard Kevin Dennin (Severna Park, Md./Severn School) each had three.
W&L took a 46-34 lead into halftime, with the Generals finishing the stanza shooting 7-of-11 (63.6 percent) from beyond the arc. The Marlins (13-13) slowly worked down the spread in the second and cut the deficit to seven (56-49) after a free throw by sophomore guard Tyree Golston with 9:07 remaining in the game.
The Generals responded with a fadeaway jumper from the left side by McMillan and a layup by Kearns to extend the advantage back to 11 (60-49). Following a missed jumper by VWU, Kearns sent a full-pass to McMillan, who calmly sunk the layup to give W&L a 62-49 lead with 7:12 left on the clock and force a Marlins' timeout.
W&L maintained at least an eight-point margin the rest of the way, as the team advanced to the semifinals of the tournament for the third consecutive season.
Mitchell set the W&L single-season blocks record midway through the first half. He stuffed Golston with 10:09 remaining in the period to notch his 76th of the season, surpassing the previous mark of 75 set by Rob Smitherman '81 during the 1978-79 campaign. Mitchell finished the night with four to extend the record to 79.
McMillan shot 8-of-18 from the floor to register his game-high 26 points. Kearns added 17 points and five assists, while Brueggeman had 13 points and a career-best eight rebounds. Mitchell added six points, four rebounds and three assists to his blocks total.
The Blue and White did not make a three-pointer in the second half, finishing the game 7-of-18 (38.9 percent). W&L held VWU to 7-of-27 (25.9 percent) from long range, and each team shot roughly 40 percent from the field.
Junior guard Lamont Steward led the Marlins with 16 points and six rebounds. Sophomore forward Tim Fisher finished the game with a double-double (15 points and 10 rebounds), and senior guard R.J. Nicholson contributed 11 points.
This marks the first time since the 1990-91 season the Blue and White has beaten Virginia Wesleyan twice in one year. It was also the first win over the Marlins in the ODAC Tournament for the Generals in nine matchups.
The Generals take on top-seeded Randolph-Macon in the semifinals on Saturday at 1:00 pm at the Salem Civic Center. The fifth-ranked Yellow Jackets defeated ninth-seeded Randolph, 79-42, in the quarterfinals earlier on Thursday.
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