Virginia Wesleyan and Christopher Newport both hosted first round games in the Division III NCAA Tournament on March 2. After each team won their respective first round games, the two local rivals are headed for a clash in the second round of the tournament.
In their first round game, Christopher Newport advanced with an 84-72 win over Rutgers-Newark. The Captains of Christopher Newport finished the game with five players in double figures, led by sophomore forward Nik Biberaj, who finished with 22 points. Forwards Evan Thorpe and Connor Laframboise finished with 14 and 12 points, respectively and guards Tra Benefield and Mike Cherry also added 16 and 13 points, respectively. Biberaj also led the Captains with 11 rebounds. Christopher Newport held a 37-24 halftime lead and built the lead to as much as 21 points at one point in the second half. The Captains built their lead in the first half by holding Rutgers-Newark to only 26.7% (8-30) shooting from the field. The Captains finished the regular season third in the nation in field goal percentage defense, holding opponents to only 36.8% on the season. Rutgers-Newark’s shooting improved in the second half and they finished the game shooting 40.3% (27-67) from the field, but they were unable to overcome the early deficit.
Virginia Wesleyan advanced into the second round by defeating Delaware Valley 76-61 in their first round matchup. Virginia Wesleyan was led by senior point guard Tre’ Ford who finished the game with 20 points. Junior guard DJ Woodmore also scored 15 points and senior guard Chris Teasley finished with 11 points as well. Teasley had a solid floor game, leading Virginia Wesleyan with 9 rebounds and 6 assists in the game. Virginia Wesleyan took an early 20-17 first half lead on a Tre’ Ford three-pointer and never looked back, finishing the first half with a 47-32 lead. Virginia Wesleyan extended the lead to as much as 20 points in the second half before cruising to the 15-point victory.
The two teams will face in their second round contest on Saturday, March 9 at the Batten Center on the Virginia Wesleyan campus. The game will be a rematch of their regular season matchup held on February 4. Christopher Newport suffered a 79-66 home loss to Virginia Wesleyan and will be hoping to gain revenge and bragging rights in the rematch.
The Christopher Newport women’s basketball team also enjoyed NCAA Tournament success this past weekend. The Lady Captains won both their first and second round games in the tournament to advance into the Sweet 16. They defeated Guilford College 66-47 in the first round on Friday and then defeated Marymount 56-50 in the second round on Saturday. The Lady Captains advance to face Montclair State in their Sweet 16 matchup. Montclair State finished the regular season as the fifth ranked team in the nation according to D3hoops.com.