By Tyler Hofmann-Reardon
This past Saturday, Roanoke College’s SGA hosted Maroon Madness, an event highlighted by doubleheader basketball, free food, free Roanoke apparel, and numerous contests throughout the games. The event was a huge success as students poured into the Bast center in droves to watch the Maroons take on Eastern Mennonite and Bridgewater College and to compete in various raffles as well as a three-point contest, a half-court shot contest, and a foul shot contest.
The Women’s Basketball team was the first to take the court on Saturday as they kicked off the festivities against Eastern Mennonite University. The Maroons entered the game at 6-9 overall (3-4) in the ODAC while Mennonite came in with a strong 13-3 overall record with an ODAC record of 6-1, good for top three in the conference. Facing such a strong opponent and working to correct recent struggles, the Maroons had their work cut out for them in this heated matchup. However, with a win, the Maroons had a chance to bring their ODAC record to .500, giving them prime position to make a final playoff push.
The hyped Roanoke student section was brought to their feet early thanks to an opening 3-pointer by Tatum McKee that sparked an early 7-3 burst for the Maroons. The two teams then began trading baskets until the Royals went on a 12-3 run giving them an 18-13 lead. Just as the Maroons were about to tie it up, thanks to two baskets by Beahm, the Royals sparked another run, this time 10-4, to secure their lead heading into the break. Down 30-21 at the start of the third, the Maroons needed a spark if they wanted to cut into this deficit. After trading baskets in the early minutes of the third, the Maroons began to cut into EMU’s lead and the crowd got more into the game as the lead got smaller and smaller. Unfortunately, a three by EMU quieted the crowd and sparked a 9-0 run that all but buried the Maroons. When the final horn sounded, EMU handed the Maroons a 65-46 loss which dropped Roanoke’s ODAC record to 3-5.
For the fourth consecutive game, Cary Beahm notched 20+ points, bringing her up to 3rd in the ODAC’s points-per-game and total points races. Beahm was followed by McKee who had six, a perfect example of the Maroon’s recent scoring struggles outside of Beahm. Hopefully, the Maroons will be able to turn things around when they square off against Shenandoah University on Saturday the 31st.
The Men’s Basketball team was next to take the court in the second game of this Maroon Madness doubleheader. The Maroons entered the game with an overall record of 6-10 (1-6 in the ODAC) while Bridgewater came in boasting a 9-7 overall record (4-3 in ODAC play). The stage was set for an intense ODAC matchup in front of a huge audience. By tip-off, the Bast center was absolutely packed, the pep band was in full swing, and the student section was as loud as ever; Maroon pride was on display.
Bolstered by the intense atmosphere, the Maroons played an absolutely dominant first half. The team bounded out to a 10-3 lead in the first moments of the game and never looked back. John Fitchett played a major role in this dominant first half, scoring 10 points during a 16-6 run for the Maroons. At one point the gap was 17 points thanks to back to back runs by the Maroons and a big three pointer by Andrew Daniels. The horn signaling the end of the half seemed to be the only thing that could stop the Maroons during the first 20 minutes of the game. When both teams entered the locker room, Roanoke had a substantial 46-32 lead. However, continuing momentum through halftime has been a struggle for the Maroons all year. When Bridgewater opened the second half with a few buckets, there seemed to be a momentum shift coming. It never happened. The Maroons continued their onslaught from the first half and never looked back. Only twice in the second half did the Maroons lead drop below 10 points yet there was never a doubt that the Maroons would essentially coast to a solid victory over the Eagles. Roanoke even finished on a 10-2 to cement their victory with freshman Eli Sumpter scoring the final two points of the contest. When the final horn sounded, the Maroons had completed an 88-71 rout of the Bridgewater Eagles.
After struggling in the past few games, Daniel Eacho once again led the Maroons in scoring with 19. He was followed by Andrew Daniels who notched 17, going 3-6 from beyond the arc, and Julian Ramirez who continued his recent scoring burst with 15. With the win, the Maroons improved their ODAC record to 2-6 and, although still at the bottom of the conference, a win streak could easily put them right back in playoff contention. The Maroons next face-off against Randolph College at home on February 7 after a short road trip. Be sure to come out and support the Maroons as they look to close their season on a high note.