By Tyler Hofmann-Reardon
This past week, the Roanoke Men’s Basketball team played two key ODAC games against Lynchburg College and Virginia Wesleyan College. The first contest pitted the Maroons against top rival Lynchburg in what would become a thrilling double overtime matchup. Roanoke entered the contest against the Hornets with an overall record of 7-10 and an ODAC record of 2-6, a small upward trend from their recent struggles. The Hornets entered with a 10-7 overall record (3-5 in the ODAC). From the tip off, the crowd could tell this would be a highly contested and hard fought game for both teams. Although the Maroons trailed early, they fought back at the end of the first half to tie the game at 39 and continued to battle until they had a 47-44 lead heading into the locker room.
The second half was an intense back and forth affair containing the majority of the games staggering 16 lead changes. The rapid succession of baskets brought the crowd to their feet and the atmosphere of the gym was akin to an ODAC championship game. Andrew Daniels and Daniel Eacho shouldered the load for the Maroons down the stretch and kept the game close despite Lynchburg’s best efforts to pull ahead. However, with 22 seconds left in the game, the Hornets hit a clutch free-throw to tie the game at 83. With the Maroons unable to take the lead in the closing seconds of regulation, the game was forced into overtime.
Lynchburg took an early lead in the first overtime period. Continuing his theme for the season, Daniels hit a clutch three-pointer to bring the Maroons back within striking distance of the Hornets. After two quick baskets by Eacho and a free throw by the Hornets, the two teams once again found themselves tied with only a few seconds left on the clock. The first overtime ended just like regulation after both teams missed chances to win the game, and the contest was pushed to its second overtime period. Roanoke was able to garner a couple of leads in the second overtime, yet each was soon erased by quick strike baskets from the Hornets. As time wound down, the Maroons found themselves down 103-101 after holding a 101-100 lead. Unfortunately, the Maroons were unable to get a final shot off, and the horn sounded, securing Lynchburg’s 103-101 double overtime win over the Maroons.
Eacho scored a career high 37 points to complement his 10 rebounds in the emotional loss, completing his return to full form after a difficult string of games. His 37 points moved him to 23rd all-time in points scored at Roanoke with 1,206. Eacho was followed by Daniels who netted 21 points, including an increasingly characteristic 5-8 from beyond the arc. Seth Bradley turned in an impressive effort from beyond the arc on his way to 14 points while Julian Ramirez finished with 13 for the night.
Coming off the tough loss, the Maroons turned their attention to the 11th ranked Virginia Wesleyan Marlins for what was sure to be a difficult ODAC contest. The Marlins entered the Bast Center with the second best ODAC record of 7-2, 15-3 overall.
Unfortunately, the game was a blowout from the start and the nationally ranked Marlins proved too tough for Roanoke to overcome. Although the Maroons managed to make some runs late in the game, they only managed to bring Virginia Wesleyan’s lead down below double digits for a short stretch in the second half. The Marlins quickly landed a barrage of three pointers to increase their lead once again. Despite fighting against a deficit for nearly the entire game, the Maroons played with intensity and teamwork for all 40 minutes. However, when the final horn sounded, the score still showed a Maroon loss, 84-66.
On a tough shooting night from beyond the arc for the Maroons, Daniels managed to hit 50 percent of his treys on the way to a team high 15 points. Eacho followed Daniels with 12 points on 6-9 shooting while Cameron Smith turned in a solid night with 11 points and as many rebounds in a double-double effort.
With the two losses, the Maroons drop to 7-12 overall with a 2-8 record in the ODAC. Hopefully the team can secure a much needed ODAC win against Randolph College on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. in Bast Gym.