LYNCHBURG, Va. – The Emory & Henry College Men's Basketball Team (14-10, 8-7 ODAC) assured itself of a winning season for the first time since 2006-07 and a home game in the first round of the 2016 Old Dominion Athletic Conference Tournament Wednesday with a 61-58 victory over Randolph College (13-11, 7-8 ODAC). The game, which was originally scheduled for Tuesday, was pushed back 24 hours due to Winter Storm Olympia.
The game featured four ties and 13 lead changes went down to the wire with the largest lead coming for the WildCats late in the first half, 29-20. Randolph used a 16-3 run over an eight minute stretch to turn a four-point deficit to a nine-point advantage. The Wasps finished the half with six of the final nine points to make the score 32-26 at the intermission.
After the break, E&H went back on top thanks to a 14-5 run over the first 5:31 of the half. The next 11 minutes saw eight lead changes as neither team could get more than a four-point advantage in the last 15:45 of play. The Wasps went ahead for the final time on a three-pointer by sophomore forward Chase Branscomb (Bristol, Tenn.) with 3:19 on the clock.
Emory & Henry extended the lead to four with nine seconds to go, but a three-pointer by Randolph's Zach Desgain closed the gap back to one with five ticks left. The WildCats were then forced to foul, and Wasp junior guard Myles Turner (Richmond, Va.) sank both of his free throws. Desgain had a chance to send the game into overtime as the buzzer, but his shot missed the mark and Emory & Henry claimed the 61-58 win.
The Wasps placed three players in double figures led by Branscomb, who had 15 points off the bench, connecting on five-of-eight three-point attempts. Sophomore guard John Shelor (Giles, Va.) had 13 points while freshman guard Aaron Ferguson (Princeton, W.Va.) added 10 points and nine rebounds. Turner had five points, six boards and five assists while junior forward Brandon Self (Norfolk, Va.) added four points, nine rebounds, two steals and a block.
As a team, Emory & Henry shot 43.1 percent (22-for-51) for the game and hit 11 shots from long range. The Wasps held a 38-31 rebounding advantage, but were forced into 15 turnovers by the WildCat defense.
Desgain posted a game-high 18 points for Randolph, and added eight rebounds and four assists. Josh Freund had 15 points and five boards while Jason Eddie contributed 13 points and five rebounds off the bench. The WildCats were just 18-for-54 (33.3%) from the floor but made the most of their opportunities at the free-throw line, hitting 83.3 percent (15-of-18) of their attempts. Randolph led, 22-16 on points in the paint and 19-7 on points off turnovers.
Emory & Henry will have its last home game of the regular season on Saturday when it hosts Shenandoah University at 2:00 p.m. The contest will also be Senior Day for the Wasps.
-photo courtesy of Caleb Johnston, E&H '15