After avoiding an upset in their season opener, the Cavs faced a quick turnaround against one of the nation’s best Division III teams. Virginia Wesleyan College, the host of the Marlin Tip-off Tournament, proved to be too tough for the Cavaliers, handing them their first loss of the season in a 96-59 final on Saturday, Nov. 17.
In the early stages, the No. 10 Cavaliers kept pace with the Marlins, holding a one-point advantage after seven minutes of play. But the Marlins slowly started to pull away by stringing points together in rapid succession. A five-point lead for the Marlins at the midway point of the first half turned into a 17-point halftime deficit for the Cavaliers.
The second half was not much better. The Cavaliers were able to cut the lead down to 15 twice in the first five minutes but were never closer. The Marlins pulled away to easily defeat the Cavs by a 37-point margin.
Leading the way for the Cavs for a second straight night was freshman Arron Goodman. Goodman posted another double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Senior A.J. Williams followed close behind with 14 points and added three rebounds and two assists.
For the Marlins, 13 players tallied points in the rout, with five hitting double figures. Led by senior Chris Astorga’s 15 points, the Marlins shot 50 percent from the floor, easily besting Cabrini’s 34 percent.
The Cavaliers did make improvements to problem areas from the season opener. The Cavs cut down on their turnovers and actually forced more turnovers against the No. 2 team than they committed, 16-13. But the free-throw shooting remained an area of concern. For the second straight night, the Cavs shot below 50 percent from the charity stripe, going 5-for-12. The Marlins were 15-for-22 in free-throws.
The Cavaliers now return home for their home opener in the Battle of Eagle Road against Eastern University on Tuesday, Nov. 20, at 8 p.m. Prior to player introductions, the Cavaliers will raise Cabrini’s first Final Four banner in school history in honor of last season’s run.