FERRUM—The only thing Jordan White failed to do on his last shot Sunday was call backboard.
White’s turn-around, fade-away trey off the glass found its destination—the bottom of the net — as Virginia Wesleyan University escaped William P. Swartz Gymnasium with an 84-83 Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) men’s basketball triumph over Ferrum College.
The Panthers had just taken their final lead, 83-81, following Kajuan Madden-McAfee’s field goal with four seconds left.
Once White’s 3-pointer was acknowledged, Virginia Wesleyan’s players and bench personnel rushed the court and mobbed him at the far right corner of the court in front of working media.
White finished with 15 points as the Marlins, last year’s ODAC runner-up, kept their conference record clean and squared their overall worksheet.
Virginia Wesleyan (3-3, 3-0 in the ODAC) won despite converting 39.4 % (26 of 66) of its field-goal attempts, while Ferum lost despite shooting 53.4% (31 of 58) from the floor.
Ferrum (6-5, 5-4 in the ODAC) suffered its third defeat at home this season and its second, one-point loss of the campaign, both in conference play.
The Panthers also fell to William Peace (N.C.) University and reigning ODAC champion Randolph-Macon at home and sustained road losses to conference foes Roanoke College and Randolph College.
“It was a tough ending to the game, but I am proud of the way we battled. I thought we really struggled defensively in the second half; their guys were getting too many easy looks, and we let them get some confidence,’’ Panthers bench boss Tyler Sanborn said.
“We made big plays down the stretch and that was great to see, we just could not quite close it out.
The game featured 11 lead changes and seven of those were in the closing 2:50.
The count was tied six times, the last of which came with 11 seconds showing after two successful free throws by the Marlins produced a stalemate at 80.
Ferrum held the lead for 30:15; Virginia Wesleyan’s time in front was much-more brief (7:27).
But the Marlins, who outscored the Panthers, 53-45, were ahead at the end thanks to White’s heroics from the perimeter.
Ferrum led by as many as 13 in the first half, while Virginia Wesleyan was ahead by as many as nine in the second stanza.
The Panthers led 38-31 at intermission; the Marlins opened the second half with a 9-0 surge to erase that deficit.
Tim Fisher paced the Marlins with 19 points, a game-best 13 rebounds and a team-best four assists.
Also, Lamont Steward and Corey Pelham each netted 16 points.
James Smith Jr. came off the bench to tally a game-best 22 points for the Panthers and Madden-McAfee totaled 21 points, eight rebounds and four assists.
Also, Nick Helton scored 15 points and Carrington Young had seven points and eight rebounds.
The game is the Panthers’ regular-season finale as a previous scheduled league road contest Thursday against Guilford (N.C.) College has been canceled.
Now, the Panthers are off until post-season tournament play commences next week. Their opponent is set to be revealed Monday afternoon, conference officials said when they announced that the field would be increased from four teams.
Usually, 10 teams advance to the tournament; however, because of COVID-19, the post-season tournament had been reduced to four.
League teams are scheduled to be tested Monday morning to see if they will be available for competition, Ferrum Director of Athletics John Sutyak said prior to Sunday’s contest.
TIP-INS: The Panthers defeated Emory & Henry College for the third straight time at Swartz Gym in the last two seasons , 81-78, in a conference match-up.
The Panthers led by 13 points, 75-62, after a 3-pointer by Madden-McAfee with 2:27 left.
From there, the Wasps (0-6, 0-6 in the ODAC) outscored the Panthers by 10 points, 16-6.
The Wasps closed the deficit to one point, 78-77, with 6.8 seconds showing after a 3-pointer by Patrick Antonelli, who finished with a team-best 21 points.
Emory & Henry played all nine players that it dressed for the game and eight scored.
Kevin Grau Rodriquez finished with 17 points, while Robert Holliday Jr netted 16 and Dylan Catron had 11.
Madden-McAfee totaled a game-best 21 points, while Young and Jamar Butler each scored 14.
Seven other players contributed points to the victory.
Darius Kemp pulled down a game-best 11 rebounds for the Panthers.
Emory & henry led by two points, 45-43, at intermission, but Ferrum erased that deficit when Madden-McAfee swished a 3-pointer to open the second half. The Panthers maintained a lead the rest of the way.