Men’s Basketball Dominates Shenandoah

Tahli Oden, senior, floats and scoops for two of his 12 points against Shenandoah.
Tahli Oden, senior, floats and scoops for two of his 12 points against Shenandoah.
Staff Photo
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  • Jikari Johnson, junior, drives the baseline for two points.

  • Charles Tart, junior, takes the ball to the hoop for two points.

  • Calvin Washington, senior, lowers his shoulder, gets around his defender, and heads for the bucket.

  • Bryant Wall, junior, posts his man up low and backs him into the lane.

  • James McCreary, freshman, sinks the final nail into the Shenandoah coffin with a three-pointer in the final seconds.

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Sometimes endings are hard to write–they can seem contrived or cheesy.

But other times, endings seem appropriate and pretty much write themselves. Truth may not be only stranger than fiction–but better as well.

Such would be the case with the men’s basketball team Saturday afternoon in Swartz Gym. The proverbial stars aligned for senior night, the final home game of the season, and the final game of the regular season.

The Panthers returned to the form that Head Coach Patrick Corrigan has expected from his team all season, and the men avenged a five-point loss to Shenandoah from a a month ago and blew out the Hornets by 25 points, 84-59.

“We really guarded, and we really defended–they shot 32%–were 6-28 from three–a lot of those were contested,” Corrigan said.

By contrast Corrigan thought the Panther shooting was on the mark.

“We shot it well, so that always helps and makes you feel better about how the game is going,” he said. “The real test is when you’re not shooting it well.”

Ferrum shot 56% from the floor on the afternoon, with Calvin Washington, senior; Jikari Johnson, junior; Tahli Oden, senior; Bryant Wall, junior; and Charles Tart, junior; weee all in double figures scoring for the afternoon.

In total, 11 Panthers notched points on the day, and Oden, Johnson, and junior Darwin Randolph led the team in assists with 5, 3, and 3, respectively.

“I was proud of the togetherness,” Corrigan said. “I thought the ball moved well.”

In fact, the Panthers never trailed in the contest, scoring the first points off a Randolph lay-up.

From there, Shenandoah tied the game at 2-2, but it would be the only tie on the afternoon as Abe Bell, senior, and Oden combined for eight points –including a Bell pull-up three on a fast break–to put the men out front 10-2 with  17:22 remaining in the first period.

The Hornets cut the lead to two with 12:58 left in the half, but the Panthers padded it back to seven on two Oden free throws at the 10:33 mark and then two Washington foul shots 9:21 to go up 21-14. Then a Tart jumper in the paint put the men up by nine, 25-16 with seven minutes left on the clock. Tart hit the and-one to go up double digits.

A Johnson three-pointer, Wall jumper, and Oden three-pointer extended the lead to 14 at the 4:44 mark. The Hornets cut it to nine at the 3:56 mark, but another Johnson three-pointer and Washington jumper put the Panthers up by 15 at the break, 42-27.

The Panthers’ first points of the second half came at the 18:15 mark with an assist from Johnson inside to Washington, and with 14:44 remaining, Johnson fed the ball inside to Wall for a jumper in the paint to go up 50-31.

Ferrum increased its lead to 23 with 13:12 left in regulation on an Alfredo Abel-Rivera lay-up assisted by Washington.

The Hornets fought and tried to chip away at the Panther total, but a pair of Bryant jumpers put the Panthers up by 24 at the 7:24 mark, 65-41.

The lead stayed in the twenties for the remainder of the game, with Ferrum increasing its lead by as much as 29 when Marcus Neal, senior, stripped the nets for a downtown three with 2:15 left to go up 81-52.

As final punctuation mark, EJ McArthur, sophomore, assisted crowd favorite Jame McCreary, freshman, who stroked one from three-point land with :19 ticks remaining to cement the 25-point win 84-59.

Post-game, Corrigan found only one flaw in the performance.

“I wish we had of rebounded better,” he noted. “They had 23 offensive rebounds, which is kind of ridiculous. That’s pretty disappointing, but outside of that, I thought we played really well. A really complete game.”

Corrigan also wanted to make sure he mentioned each senior, who played their final home and regular-season game of their collegiate careers yesterday.

“Abe got us off to a great start–I think it was 13-6 when he checked out. He had five points in that stretch. He hit a three. I thought that was terrific,” he said. “Marcus came in late and got some buckets. He had five points. And obviously Cal and Tahli. All four were in my first recruiting class here, and they’ve been a big part of us becoming a lot more competitive. They’ve done a lot for the program.”

“We’re not done, so hopefully we can get ready and compete and keep it going on Monday. Those guys were really locked in today. We just have to continue that and see where the chips fall.”

Corrigan said he was most proud that the team played a full game with intensity and focus and made winning plays. He hopes to see the same tomorrow, when Ferrum travels to Bridgewater for a play-in game to establish rights to compete in the ODAC tournament.

“It’s just a matter of, ‘Are we going to show up to play?’ like we did today,” he said. “It’s playoff basketball; you’re in somebody else’s gym–you can’t bank on getting any calls. We have to play together and play like we did today.”

Corrigan and the Panthers are hoping to avenge two regular-season overtime losses to Bridgewater, one by one point a week ago in Swartz Gym.

“We owe those guys,” he said. “We made a lot of mistakes (in the last game). I think we counted something like 30 mistakes–and if we had taken care of half or 10 of those, we would have been in a lot better position in the game.”

With the win, Ferrum earns the #10 spot  and will play #7 Bridgewater tomorrow night in Bridgewater at 7 p.m. The winner earns a berth in the ODAC tournament.





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