Thursday, January 24, 2013
Maroons break ODAC win drought, beat Wasps
Roanoke College ended its worst start ever in league play by thumping Emory & Henry.
The Roanoke College men's basketball team opened its 2012-13 ODAC league schedule with a loss at No. 2-ranked Virginia Wesleyan on Nov. 28.
It took 57 days, but the Maroons finally won their first league game Wednesday night.
Led by 23points by star guard Kwasi Amponsah, Roanoke ended its worst start ever in ODAC play with an 82-65 rout of Emory & Henry at Bast Center.
About doggone time, Maroons coach Page Moir said.
"It's fun to get one," Moir said. "We've played hard. I think frustrations had built up and it's good to get that out of the way.
"Proud of the guys, proud of the effort. We lost a heartbreaker on Saturday against a great team. We shoulda, we woulda, we coulda,but we didn't. But we finished it this time."
Fifty-three hours removed from blowing an 18-point lead inthe final 13 minutes to lose 89-82 to league leader Wesleyan on Saturday, the Maroons made certain there would be no squandering this time. Roanoke (8-10, 1-8 ODAC) made certain by scoring the game's first 11 points and never trailed in downing the cold-shooting Wasps (3-13, 1-8).
"It's something that we knew we had to get to get back on the right track," said Amponsah, who didn't score until he made a free throw with 5:25 left in the first half.
"The loss to Virginia Wesleyan was definitely disappointing because we were that close of actually doing something that could turn the season around in a big way. But we felt afterwards that we could definitely play with the best.We just had to move forward from that and put that behind us and get this one. So this one solidified our mindset."
The Wasps, who missed their first 12 shots from the field in falling into a quick hole, went on a 12-4 run to draw to 15-12 midway through the opening half. But Paul Russo's club never got any closer as Roanoke closed on a killer 27-10 spurt to take a 42-22 halftime lead. Amponsah's eight points helped fuel the run.
"I don't know what it was," Amponsah said of him being so quiet in the game's first 14 minutes. "It wasn't anything they were doing, it just took me a little bit."
Truth is, the ODAC's No. 2 scorer is far from 100 percent. After the game, Amponsah quickly headed to the training room for a couple of ice bags to throw on his two aching knees and one bad ankle.
"This win sure helps me feel better," he said.
The Maroons finally got to have some fun late in an ODAC contest for a change. The starters and top reserve had some fun cheering on the club's deep-roster guys. A pair of those shock troops - freshman forward Seth Bradley (Alleghany) and senior guard Connor Toomey of Texas - each scored for the first time all season.
Bradley scored down low with 3:52 left to spark a minor roar from the bench for his first points. Toomey recorded his first point of the campaign when he sank one of two free throws with 13.6 seconds left in the game.
"It's definitely nice when you see people who don't normally get a chance to play as much get in and do something nice," Amponsah said. "The whole team definitely supports everybody so it was a good feeling. Besides, we know we're in good shape at that point."
Roanoke's Julian Ramirez, who scored the game's first nine points, finished with 14 points and six assists.Center Daniel Eacho had 11 points and10 rebounds for the winners.
Myles Turner's 17 points paced E&H, which shot a miserable 23.7 percent from the floor in the decisive first half and 28.4 percent for the night.
EMORY & HENRY (3-13, 1-8)
Pearman 1-2 0-0 2, Turner 6-20 2-2 17, Driver 3-11 1-3 7, Mullins 2-8 6-6 11, Murrell 2-7 3-10 7, Lett 2-5 2-2 7, Coles 2-3 1-2 5, Brown 0-4 0-0 0, Anzenberger 0-2 0-0 0, Smith 2-9 2-5 6, Schwartz 1-3 1-2 3, Totals 21-74 18-32 65.
ROANOKE (8-10, 1-8)
Smith 0-1 0-0 0, Thacker 2-6 3-6 7, Ramirez 5-10 3-4 14, Amponsah 8-12 4-5 23, Eacho 4-5 3-4 11, Vulevic 1-2 1-2 3, Humphries 0-0 2-2 2, Barrett 0-0 0-0 0, Akers 1-2 0-0 2, Lacy 1-2 0-0 2, Toomey 0-0 1-2 1, Bradley 1-1 0-0 2, Bradshaw 1-1 0-0 3, Weant 2-6 3-3 7, Moats 1-1 2-3 4, Totals 27-49 23-33 82.
Halftime - Roanoke 42-22. 3-points goals - E&H 5-22 (Turner 3-8, Lett 1-2, Mullins 1-4, Driver 0-3, Brown 0-3, Anzenberger 0-2), RC 5-13 (Amponsah 3-4, Ramirez 1-3, Bradshaw 1-1, Thacker 0-3, Akers 0-1, Lacy 0-1). Rebounds - E&H 41 (Turner 6), RC 48 (Eacho 10). Total fouls - E&H 26, RC 24. Fouled out - Murrell. Technical fouls - Eacho, Murrell. A - 723.