Defense Propels WildCats to Upset of Roanoke in ODAC Quarterfinals

SALEM, Va. --- The Randolph College men's basketball team held Roanoke College to 9-of-40 shooting from three-point range on the way an winning the Old Dominion Athletic Conference Quarterfinal, 74-62.  The sixth-seeded WildCats held the third-seeded Maroons to 32.8% shooting from the floor and 35 points below their season average.

Roanoke was the first team to get on the board with a quick bucket, but Randolph answered soon after to take the lead.  Josh Freund hit back to back buckets, which were separated by a great charge by Reid Jacoby.  Joey Miller responded soon after with a three to give the Maroons a slight advantage.

The 'Cats stormed back, with Zach Desgain hitting a tough jumper, starting a 7-2 run.  Jason Eddiefinished it with a three from the top of the key.  The two teams then began to trade baskets for a long stretch of the game.

Carter Wright cut the deficit to three with 6:04 left in the half, but it was all Randolph over the final minutes.  Corey Brown hit two tough shots around the basket to put the advantage at 27-20.  Roanoke scored five of the next seven, but Jacoby scored five in a row, including a big three from the right wing, knotting the score at 34-25.

Desgain finished the half hitting shots from the charity stripe, but CJ Miles made a shot from the corner in the waning moments of the stanza.  However, the 'Cats still went into the intermission with a 38-31 lead.

Desgain started out the second half off with a big shot from deep.  Roanoke came back with two threes, but Freund scored in between to keep the advantage at six.  The two sides exchanged points, with Jacoby hitting a difficult layup to put the score at 47-41 with 14 minutes left. 

Evan Horn and fellow senior Eddie followed Jacoby with massive makes from downtown.  Desgain added a tough shot to put the Randolph lead at 14.  But the high-scoring Maroons went on a quick 7-0 burst to cut things to seven with 10 minutes remaining.

Those final ten minutes saw the two teams struggle to make baskets.  However, the WildCats made shots from the free throw line, including six from Brown.  Roanoke cut the deficit to five with less than three minutes.  But, Jacoby stepped up and knocked down a clutch three with 1:57 left to put Randolph up 65-57.  Desgain then scored on a fast break, and the team sealed the win with free throws down the stretch.

"I thought our guys played a consistent game from start to finish," said head coach Clay Nunley.  "We got contributions across the board which we knew it would take to win this kind of game.  I was extremely proud of the performance of our team."

Desgain led four scorers in double-figures with 20 points.  Brown tallied 15, while Freund and Jacoby chipped in 10.  Freund added 11 boards, helping the WildCats outrebound their opponents 49-35.  Joey Miller led Roanoke (19-7 overall) with 14 points.

Randolph (16-11) will head to the ODAC Semifinals on Saturday night.  The WildCats will play second-seeded Virginia Wesleyan College (18-8) at 8 p.m. at the Salem Civic Center.

--- This release is courtesy of the Randolph College sports information department. ---