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Panthers reach milestone victory total with win in ODAC tournament debut

Panthers reach milestone victory total with win in ODAC tournament debut

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FERRUM — Ferrum College’s men’s basketball team made its debut in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference’s (ODAC) postseason tournament by edging Emory & Henry College 87-84 in a first-round match-up of foes seeded seventh and 10th.

The victory was a milestone win for the Panthers; it was the 400th of their NCAA Division III era, which began with the 1985-86 campaign.

In 35 years, Ferrum’s record is 400-504.

Six coaches have accounted for those wins and losses: Bill Tharp (149-164), Bill Pullen (147-137), Larry Mangino (38-63), Ed Wills (33-70), current head coach Tyler Sanborn (26-51) and Scott Shepherd (7-19).

Tharp (12 years) and Pullen (11 years) are longest-tenured coaches combing for 23 years in charge of the Panthers and they are responsible for 296 wins and 301 losses.

Mangino (four years), Wills (four years), Shepherd (one year) and Sanborn (three years) have as many years of service combined as Tharp.

The Panthers reached 400 wins and 500 losses (at home in January versus Roanoke College) in Sanborn’s past campaign.

The Panthers were in their eighth Division III campaign when they reached the 100-win mark. If that progression is matched, win No. 500 would come during the 2027-2028 season.

Ferrum has 22 double-figure win seasons, but only twice has it reached 20 wins, surpassing that mark both times with 21 in 1992 and 23 in 2011.

Of the 400 wins, 308 (77 percent) are during those 22 seasons.

Ferrum’s win over Emory & Henry came in its first postseason game since 2016 when the Panthers lost a quarterfinal-round contest to LaGrange (Ga.) College in the USA South Athletic Conference tournament and it was its first triumph in postseason play since the 2014 quarterfinals of that event when Averett University was the conquered foe in a contest played at Maryville (Tenn.) College.

Ferrum failed to qualify for postseason play in 2015, 2017 and 2018 while in the USA South and in 2019, its inaugural year in the ODAC.

Also, Ferrum’s victory over Emory & Henry is its second postseason win over the Wasps; the first was notched in the opening round of the NCAA Division III tournament in 1992 in a coaching match-up between Pullen and the late Bob Johnson.

Both of the wins were in encounters staged at William P. Swartz Gymnasium.

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