By Tyler Hofmann-Reardon
Over winter break, the Roanoke Men’s basketball team traveled to Daytona Beach, Florida for some non-conference action before returning home on a winter road-trip that consisted of seven games. However, before heading to the beach, the Maroons faced Ferrum in another non-conference contest. Roanoke made short work of Ferrum, outscoring them 80-65 in a blowout victory. Daniel Eacho led the Maroons with 15 points and 9 rebounds while Julian Ramirez nearly had a double-double, scoring 10 points and 8 assists in the process. With a solid win on their backs, Roanoke headed down to Daytona to take on SUNY-Oneonta and Marymount College.
In their first game in the Daytona Beach Shootout, the Maroons lost a hard-fought game to SUNY-Oneonta 81-69. The Maroons were once again led by Eacho, who scored 17 points on the night, while Andrew Daniels and Julian Ramirez also finished with double figures, tallying 15 and 10 points respectively. Although both teams were almost even in shooting percentage, nearly 38 percent from the field and about 30 percent from behind the arc, SUNY Oneonta was able to pull out a win by shooting 23-27 from the charity stripe while Roanoke shot only 12-18. Looking to bounce back against a team they had lost to 86-57 earlier in the season, the Maroons turned towards Marymount for their second game of the holiday shootout. Unfortunately, the only highlights for the Maroons were individual ones, as they lost the game 76-62. John Fitchett put up solid numbers, scoring 21 points, while Andrew Daniels hit the 89th three-pointer of his career, good for 12th all-time at Roanoke. Although disappointed with their performance at Daytona, the Maroons took solace in the fact that these non-conference games did not affect their ODAC standing and the team turned its attention to the upcoming Cregger Classic. Roanoke faced SUNY New Paltz in their first game of the Cregger Classic and the team’s first game of the new year. Although a tightly contested game throughout, the Maroons played some incredible lock-down defense down the stretch to secure a 77-69 win over SUNY New Paltz. Andrew Daniels’ 21 points, and Daniel Eacho’s double-double (20-11) helped propel the Maroons to victory and into the championship game of the Cregger Classic where they faced a strong Swarthmore squad. The matchup between Roanoke and Swarthmore turned out to be perfect for a championship game and the contest was eventually decided in double overtime with Swarthmore barely winning 81-79. The Maroons were led once again by Eacho who notched 22 points and earned a bid to the All-Tournament team alongside Cameron Smith. Julian Ramirez also displayed his precision passing throughout the game, tallying 9 assists which brought his career total to 320, good for 6th all-time at Roanoke. Freshman Joey Miller also contributed with a career high 13 points, including two buckets from behind the arc.
After the loss, the Maroons refocused for back-to-back ODAC matchups against the Quakers of Guilford College and the Randolph Wildcats. Against Guildford, Roanoke fell just short and was unable to hold on for the win and they were edged in the final second of the game 66-64 on a game winning layup. Andrew Daniels led the Maroons with 13 points and was followed by Julian Ramirez, Daniel Eacho, and Carter Wright who scored 11, 10, and 10 respectively. The Wildcats also handed the Maroons a rough loss with a final score of 86-74. Roanoke was led by Cameron Smith, Carter Wright, and Joey Miller who all scored in double figures with 15, 11, and 10 respectively. Smith also tallied 7 rebounds, leading the team in that category.
Overall, the Maroons went 2-5 in the seven games they played over break, giving them a record of 6-7 (1-3 in ODAC play), and they return for the second semester. The team will look to turn things around in their upcoming game against Randolph-Macon at home on Saturday.