Ferrum experience stops Scots
By Marcus Fitzsimmons | (email@example.com)
Ferrum had weathered and proven seniors. Maryville had a lot of promise. The old age in college basketball won out over youthful potential Saturday as the visiting Panthers stayed in the thick of the USA South lead, taking a 74-69 conference win in Boydson Baird.
“I saw men playing with boys,” Maryville veteran coach Randy Lambert told The Daily Times. “Lamont King played like a senior. Charles Warren, another senior, had his season high against us.”
Ferrum’s seniors accounted for 53 against the Scots with King dropping in 26 and Donte Thomas coming off the bench for 15, along with Warren, who added a dozen after averaging 2.9 coming into the contest.
The Scots (6-8, 3-4 USAC) closed the gap to just 3, at 57-54 with 5:17 to play, on Jamonee Byrd’s high-arcing spin in the paint that has twice earned the freshman the USAC newcomer of the week nod. But Ferrum (8-6, 5-1) responded from the foul line as King iced a pair, and Ferrum hit seven in a row around a pair of dunks from King and Jamal Pullen to push the bubble back out to 7. The Panthers finished 21-of-35 at the foul line after the Scots were forced to foul late, but MC did itself no favors going 9-of-19 at the line that can’t be guarded.
“In a close game like that, you have to hit your free throws. Obviously, that could have made a difference,” Lambert said. “We shot well enough to win the game, but we didn’t shoot well enough from the foul line to win it.”
Both teams finished 25-of-52 from the floor shooting 48.1 percent, with Maryville’s 53 percent — 10-of-19 — clip beyond the arc being the equalizer that kept things close, as sole MC senior Wes Lambert dropped in a 3 and Chris Ford dropped in the last of his three 3s in the final minutes.
“Christian played a good overall game, took care of the ball and knocked down some big shots,” Lambert said before breaking into the wistfully head shake and smile. “If I can only be patient enough for next year when these freshman are sophomores and these sophomores are juniors.”
The Scots went scoreless for the first four minutes of the second half as Ferrum expanded a 39-36 halftime lead, built on a 6-0 run over the final 4:42 of the first session on the shooting of Warren and King and offensive rebounds.
Maryville was outrebounded 40-28 but was closer to even the second 20 minutes, allowing FC one offensive rebound after the Panthers claimed 10 the first half.
“I felt like we gave up too many 50-50 balls in the first half, when it’s up there and being tipped around, it seemed like they got another possession, and it seemed like when we gave them that second chance to score, they did,” Lambert said. “We did a better job in the second half of keeping them off the boards. But we gave them too many layups, too many easy baskets. They didn’t have to work hard for points, and we were having to make all-star plays to get a basket.”
MC led briefly at 19-17 after Jose Agosto swished a 3-pointer and Joey Bodewig came through with a forceful deuce plus one in the paint. Warren matched his season average in the next few ticks, subbing in to score with a baseline jumper and pulling up from four feet.
The Scots got a spark from Oak Ridge freshman Spencer Shoffner, who came off the bench to swish three treys to keep it a 1-point game until FC stopped up the bagpipes for the four-minute outburst and the lead it wouldn’t surrender.
“Spencer is very capable. He’s another good freshman. He just needs to figure out how to maintain the intensity level,” Lambert said. “Jose had one of his better games. We seemed to match up better with him on the floor. They basically played two strong post at the same time, and we had to go with a bigger, wider lineup than what we typically do.”
Ford led nine Scots in scoring 15 and dished out a team-high four assists. MC returns to action Wednesday hosting Covenant, where the football team will be honored at halftime.
LIONS DOWN: Maryville’s Jan. 23 and Feb. 6 games against Piedmont have been canceled. The new USAC member announced Dec. 28 that it was canceling the remainder of its season.
“A myriad of circumstances including suspensions, dismissals, and career- and season-ending injuries has decimated the team. We were left with too few able-bodied student athletes to continue the season,” said Piedmont College Director of Athletics John Dzik. “Although we regret taking this action, the welfare of our student-athletes and coaches is our paramount concern.”