SALEM, Va. – The #5 Emory & Henry College Men's Basketball Team (16-11) advanced to the semifinals of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference Tournament for the first time since 2004 with a 91-81 victory over fourth-seeded Guilford (16-10) Friday afternoon at the Salem Civic Center. The Wasps earn two postseason victories for the first time since the 1993-94 when they reached the ODAC Tournament Championship game.
E&H streaked out to a 24-11 lead at the 10:08 mark of the first half, behind a quartet of three-pointers. Later in the half, the Quakers trimmed the deficit from 14 to seven, scoring seven in a row to make the score 30-23. Emory & Henry responded to go up by 18 points (47-29) with 13 seconds before the intermission on a pair of free throws by sophomore forward Chase Branscomb (Bristol, Tenn.). A three-point basket by Guilford Trevor Hyatt with five seconds left made the halftime margin 47-32.
Five-straight points by the Wasps coming out of the locker room extended the advantage to 20 points (52-32) but a 20-5 run by the Quakers covering 4:26 got the score to 62-58. Emory & Henry worked to build its lead back to 14 with just under three minutes remaining, and was thereby able to hold off another scoring spurt by Guilford which drew the margin to 85-80 with 53 seconds remaining. E&H went six-for-eight from the free throw line in the last 40 seconds to seal the victory and advance to the tournament semifinals.
Freshman forward Aaron Ferguson (Princeton, W.Va.) posted game-highs in scoring and rebounding, finishing with 23 points and 13 boards for the double-double. He went seven-for-13 from the field and nine-for-11 at the charity stripe in the effort. Sophomore guard John Shelor (Giles, Va.) added 22 points on six-for-eight shooting from long range and tacked on five rebounds and three assists. Freshman guard Clif Conley (Galax, Va.) had 17 points and five rebounds while junior guard Ryan Gravley (Austinville, Va.) notched nine points and six assists. Junior forward Brandon Self (Norfolk, Va.) added six points and 11 rebounds as well.
As a team, Emory & Henry shot 51 percent (26-for-51) from the field, connecting on 12-of-21 (57.1%) of its three-point attempts. The Wasps were efficient at the line, shooting 81.8 percent (27-of-33) in the game. E&H held a 45-30 rebounding advantage as well, and assisted on 19 of its 26 made baskets.
Guilford placed five players in double figures in scoring led by Trevor Mayo's 17-point performance. Zachary Houston had 13 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals while Hyatt scored 13 points. Carson Long and Alston Thompson put up 11 and 10 points, respectively.
The Quakers hit 43.5 percent (30-for-69) of their field goals, leading 34-16 on points in the paint. Guilford took advantage of 19 E&H miscues for a 26-12 advantage on points off turnovers.
Emory & Henry will face off against top-seeded Lynchburg College in the ODAC Tournament Semifinals on Saturday evening at 6:00 p.m., at the Salem Civic Center. The two squads split their regular season meetings, each winning at home.
-photo courtesy of Gracie Withers Multimedia Entrprises of America