Men’s Basketball on Fire
Since losing their first game of the season, the Maroons have exploded for a six-game win streak, and are playing some of the most exciting basketball in school history.
The Maroons opened the season on a high note, securing a non-conference victory and a win over a Division 1 school in an exhibition match. They continued this hot start when they returned home for an opener against the University of Dallas. The game, part of the Dick Leftwich V-Foundation Classic hosted by the Maroons, saw Roanoke put on a show from deep in front of the home crowd. The Maroons knocked down 16 three-pointers, the second most in school history, on their way to a 95-72 rout of the University of Dallas. This was also the first time the home crowd was able to experience the Maroons’ new, fast-paced, offense and the fans were fired up to watch the young core of guards run-and-gun with incredibly efficiency.
As a unit, the Maroons launched bomb after bomb to the tune of 16 threes on 27 attempts for an unreal 59.3% from beyond the arc. Fueled by the barrage of threes, the Maroons took a 46-29 lead at the half and never looked back, eventually extending their lead by 34 points to complete the blowout. Beyond their mark from three, the Maroons also shot 55.6% from the field, finishing at the rim almost at will. Defensively, the Maroons played exceptionally well, making the University of Dallas look like a high school team and recording a number of steals to spark the fast breaks the Maroons have thrived on this season.
Sharpshooter and sophomore Dustin Hassell led all scorers with 17 points, including five three-pointers, and he managed to bring the entire stadium to its feet after sinking three consecutive shots from beyond. Sophomore Joey Miller and freshman John Caldwell added double digit points as well, dropping 13 and 12 respectively. To continue the dominance by the young Maroons, sophomore Eli Sumpter dropped six dimes on the night, including some beautiful assists in traffic.
With the win, the Maroons moved to the championship game of the tournament, which saw them square off against Saint Joseph’s-Brooklyn. Once again, the Maroons were led by their young core of guards who led the team to a 105-94 victory to secure the championship. The Maroons also continued their dominance from deep, dropping 15 threes and shooting 50% from the field. The 74 shots the Maroons put up from the field showed their offensive explosiveness and encapsulated the fast-paced action that has defined this season and excited fans across the ODAC. Roanoke also continued its stellar defense, holding St. Joseph’s to a dismal 9-32 from beyond the arc and 34-78 from the field.
Miller led the Maroons with 16 points to go along with 9 boards on his way to earning the honor of tournament MVP. Miller and Caldwell, who notched another double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds, also represented the Maroons on the all-tournament team. John Fitchett, Cam Smith, Carter Wright, and Dustin Hassell also scored in double figures for the Maroons, recording 15, 13, 12, and 11. Hassell continued his hot streak from deep and brought the Maroon student section to its feet for the second game in a row with a series of threes in quick succession during a critical juncture. On the whole, twelve different Maroons scored on the night, representing the incredible bench production the Maroons are becoming accustomed to this year.
After a tournament sweep, the Maroons move on to the Thanksgiving Weekend Classic in Salem. The first contest of the tournament was an absolute and embarrassing blowout where Roanoke outscored Penn-State New Kensington by 40 points, 126-86. This 2015 Maroon squad continues to set records nearly every time they step on the court, with Saturday’s 126 point outburst being the most in school history. As a team, the Maroons continued their hot hand from the field as well, hitting 14 threes and record a 52.4% field goal percentage.
The Maroons were led in scoring by Joey Miller and John Fitchett, who each scored 18 points. Miller and Fitchett were followed by Caldwell and Wright who notched 16 and 14, respectively. Eli Sumpter had a great game as well, leading the Maroons with four assists, and was a constantly disrupted the Nittany Lions’ offense with four steals. However, the most impressive stat of the game was the fact that all 16 Maroons scored in the victory.
With the victory, the Maroons moved on to the championship game against Mount Aloysius. Mount Aloysius proved to be no match for the Maroons unstoppable offense and they fell 102-90. The win secured the tournament championship for the Maroons, which marked their second consecutive tournament championship.
Roanoke was led by John Fitchett, who dropped 21 and secured the tournament MVP honors. He was joined on the all-tournament team by Cam Smith, who recorded 18 points and 9 boards in the victory. Four more Maroons joined these two in double digit scoring, with Miller notching 14, Hassell dropping 13, Woodliff tallying 12, and Bradley finishing with 11. Assist-man, Eli Sumpter, facilitated an excellent game from the point guard position, dropping six dimes in the contest. In what’s becoming the norm, the Maroons, again, hit 15 threes and made 50% of its shots from the floor.
To complete their six-game win streak, the Maroons took to the Bast Center to defend their home court again visiting Eastern Mennonite in Roanoke’s first ODAC match of the season. This time, it was Eastern Mennonite that fell victim to the Maroons high powered offense and suffered a 107-95 defeat. Like usual, Roanoke put up over 100 points and secured another double-digit victory thanks to incredible play by the team’s guards.
John Fitchett led the team with 23 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 assists on an unreal 10-15 shooting. However, Fitchett was not alone in double figures. The usual suspects, Wright, Miller, Woodliff, and Caldwell each finished with double digit points and carried the load offensively for the Maroons. Roanoke played fantastically on defense as well and recorded nine steals while constantly disrupting Eastern Mennonite’s passing lanes and harassing their forwards in the paint.
The six game win streak moved the Maroons to 6-1 on the season and 1-0 in the ODAC. With such a fast paced and efficient offense, any opponent will find it difficult to limit the Maroons and prevent them from launching, and making, a barrage of threes. Coupled with their stellar defensive play of late, the Maroons are setting themselves up to be the team to beat in the ODAC. Even more exciting is the incredible play of all the young talent on the team. If this continues, Roanoke could have a very competitive team for the next few years. Be sure to come out and support the Maroons and witness their explosiveness for yourself in their next home game against Shenandoah on December 10th at 7:00pm.