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Panthers fail to hook Marlins in ODAC opener

Panthers fail to hook Marlins in ODAC opener

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VIRGINIA BEACH — Virginia Wesleyan University got all of its scoring from its starting five players, four of whom finished in double figures, Sunday as the Marlins edged Ferrum College, 60-56, in the 2019-2020 Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) men’s basketball opener for both teams.

Virginia Wesleyan (1-0 in the ODAC, 5-1 overall), which led from the 9:39 mark of the second half until game’s end, secured the victory by making 3 of 4 attempts from the free-throw line in closing 1:32.

The Panthers (0-1 in the ODAC, 2-4 overall), who suffered their second straight loss, trailed 57-50 with 3:31 showing before cutting the deficit to one point, 57-56, courtesy of a 6-0 surge.

Rashad Reed, Brandon Reeves and Kajuan Madden-McAfee supplied the points to the run.

Corey Pelham converted the first of the Marlins’ late-game free-throw tries with less than 10 seconds left. He missed his second try, but teammate Tim Fisher grabbed the rebound with three seconds left and was fouled. He made both of his attempts to produce the final score.

“We had a great effort against a really good team,’’ Panthers head coach Tyler Sanborn said.

“Offensively, in the first half, we found rhythm and had some success. They made some adjustments, and in the second half, we really struggled to make plays and score, especially down the stretch,’’ Sanborn said.

Tyree Golston led the Marlins with 18 points. Jordan White netted 13, while Fisher and Pelham each finished with 12.

The Marlins’ starters accounted for all 16 of their field goals and they were victorious despite a 32.7 percent shooting clip. Only three shots from the field were attempted by the five reserves who saw action.

Ferrum led by seven points, 33-26, at intermission, but was outscored by 11, 34-23, after halftime.

Virginia Wesleyan netted the game’s first eight points, but thanks to a 13-4 scoring surge, a run that ended with a 3-pointer by Madden-McAfee, Ferrum erased that deficit.

The count was even at 17 before the Marlins ran off five unanswered points to break the stalemate.

The Panthers responded with a 14-2 run that was keyed by two Madden-McAfee treys and two lay-ups by Marcus Plair. Also, veterans Nick Helton and Carrington Young each swished a jumper during the run.

Virginia Wesleyan was within three points, 45-42, following a three-point play by Percy Burt.

A Pelham 3-pointer with 9:39 showing put the Marlins ahead by two points and they extended their advantage to four, 51-47, after two free throws by Golston.

Two-point differences of 51-49 and 52-50 favored the Marlins after a lay-up by Helton and a free throw by Kalip Jones. Then, the Marlins would score five points in a row.

Virginia Wesleyan’s victory is its second straight.

The Panthers held the Marlins 20 points under their scoring average (80.2) for the season.

Only once has Virginia Wesleyan been held to fewer than 60 points — 54 in its lone setback this season, a non-conference loss to Averett University.

Ferrum won a close rebounding battle, 41-37; the difference was one (26-25) on the defensive glass and three (15-12) on the offensive backboards.

“I was really proud of our effort defensively and on the glass. If we can continue to do those things consistently, and find our stride on the offensive side, I think we will really be able to turn the corner and win games,’’ Sanborn said.

Madden-McAfee came off the bench to score a game-best 18 points, pull down seven rebounds and collect five assists. He was 4 of 8 from the 3-point arc.

Plair, who was 6 of 9 from the field, tallied 13 points and Reeves scored nine points before fouling out.

Also scoring were Helton with seven points, James Smith Jr. with four, Reed and Young each with two and Jones with one.

Reed is 90 points shy of reaching the 1,000-point milestone in career scoring. Seventeen other players have done so in their Ferrum careers, the last of whom is Jamal Pullen in 2015.

Ferrum converted 21 of 59 (35.6 percent) of its shots from the floor. It was 5 of 16 (31.3 percent) from 3-point territory and 9 of 12 (75 percent) from the free-throw line.

The Panthers have lost five in a row in conference play dating to last season and the Marlins are responsible for each of the last two setbacks. The differences in those games are two (77-75) and four (60-56) points.

Virginia Wesleyan had edges in assists (11-6) and second-chance points (18-9), and it forced 16 turnovers, while committing 17.

Ferrum held advantages in points off turnovers (20-11), points in the paint (30-16) and bench points (24-0).

ON TAP: Ferrum College versus University of Lynchburg @ William P. Swartz Gymnasium today at 7 p.m.

RECORDS: Lynchburg (1-0 in the ODAC, 5-3 overall), Ferrum (0-1 in the ODAC, 2-4 overall)

POINTS TO PONDER: Lynchburg, led by head coach Hillary Scott, opened conference play with an 81-68 road victory over Bridgewater College. The victory ended a two-game losing streak. Ferrum is playing its fifth home game; the Panthers are 2-2 at Swartz Gym.

The two teams played twice last year and the Hornets won both: 74-57 in a non-league game that they hosted and 76-64 in a conference contest played at Swartz Gym last February.

Lynchburg has won nine in a row in the series. Ferrum’s last victory came during the 2010-2011 campaign at Swartz Gym, 74-46.

Scott has won 170 games in 10-plus seasons at the helm.

A second league match-up between the two teams is set for Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020 at John M. Turner Gymnasium at 7 p.m.

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