By Tyler Hofmann-Reardon
Over the weekend, the Maroons faced off against ODAC rival Hampden-Sydney in a game that would become an instant classic. The Maroons entered the contest with an overall record of 9-13, but with a struggling 4-9 ODAC record. On the other hand, the Hampden-Sydney Tigers entered with a strong 14-8 overall record and a middle of the pack, 7-6 ODAC record. The Maroons were in for a tough night against their ODAC superiors, yet they were prepared to put up a fight in front of the home crowd.
The Maroons jumped out to an early lead over the Tigers, securing a 17-10 lead just 7 minutes into the contest. However, after an uneventful few minutes, the two teams began to trade baskets with the Tigers slowly chipping away at the Maroon lead. With two minutes left, the Maroons held a 27-25 lead, but a 7-0 run by the Tigers closing the half put the Maroons behind at halftime 32-27.
The Tigers continued their momentum into the second half, quickly jumping out to a 10-point lead and maintaining their lead for the first ten minutes of the first half. However, the Maroons soon mounted a comeback, topped off by a Julian Ramirez 3-pointer to give the Maroons their first lead of the second half. Roanoke’s comeback continued with back-to-back three pointers by sharpshooter Andrew Daniels and, with a layup by Daniel Eacho, the Maroons found themselves with a 10-point lead with four minutes left in regulation.
Unfortunately, over the next two minutes, the Tigers managed to go on an 11-0 run to reclaim the lead. After a series of traded baskets, Julian Ramirez fouled out, giving the Tigers two free-throws which put Hampden-Sydney up by three points with only seconds remaining in the game. With time for one last shot, Seth Bradley found Daniels behind the three point line on a nearly full court pass. On the run, with a hand in his face, and fading from the basket, Daniels launched a three just as the buzzer sounded. Buckets. His incredible shot tied the game at 64, and brought the Bast Center to its feet, sending the game into overtime.
The two teams traded baskets in overtime until they were tied at 70 with about two minutes to go. Playing the hero for the second time, Daniels hit two clutch foul shots to give the Maroons a two point lead with under a minute to go. However, the Maroons made the mistake of fouling the Mitch Owens of the Tigers with just 11 seconds left in OT. Owens hit both free throws and, with John Fitchett missing a three at the buzzer, the game was pushed into its second overtime period.
After falling by three early on in the second overtime period, Daniels rescued the Maroons once again with another three pointer to tie the game at 76 apiece with three minutes left. Thanks to a Fitchett layup and two free throws by freshman sensation Joey Miller, the Maroons held an 80-76 lead with just twenty seconds to play. Although the Tigers hit a layup to bring the game within two, Miller, with ice in his veins, hit two more free throws to secure a double overtime, 82-78, win for the Maroons.
Along with his #SCTopTen buzzer-beater, Andrew Daniels led the Maroons with 22 points with five three-pointers. Daniels has been the hot-hand for the Maroons over the last three games, averaging 22 points per game and leading the Maroons in scoring in all three of those contests. Due to his stellar play, Daniels is now ranked 35th in scoring at Roanoke with 956 points. He is just 44 points shy of joining the 1,000 point club and, with three games left to play, the Maroons may have two 1,000 point scorers by the end of the season. A big part of his scoring has been from beyond the arc this season, and he currently ranks third in the ODAC in three-pointers made, sinking 60 thus far. Daniel Eacho was second on the squad in scoring, netting 15 and securing 11 boards on his way to his fifth double-double of the year. Eacho now sits among the top 20 scorers in Roanoke basketball history with 1261 career points. Following Eacho on the night was Ramirez and Fitchett who scored 13 and 11 respectively, and Cameron Smith, the Maroons rebounding machine, finished with 10 boards once again.
The Maroons round off their regular season on Saturday as they travel to face Eastern Mennonite. Be sure to wish the Maroons luck as they look to end the season on a high note and as Daniels chases 1,000 career points.