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FERRUM — Back on Dec. 4, the Roanoke College men’s basketball team dropped its fourth game of the season.

Roanoke has not lost since.

The Maroons won their seventh straight game Wednesday, fending off Ferrum 80-67 at Swartz Gym.

“We’ve been putting a huge emphasis on the defensive end and just working together and making sure that we play team ball,” Roanoke senior guard Caleb Jordan said.

Jordan scored 16 points Wednesday.

“He played like a senior tonight,” Roanoke coach Clay Nunley said.

Roanoke (11-4, 5-1 ODAC) led the entire second half.

Josh Freund, who shined for Roanoke the past two seasons as a junior and senior, is now playing professionally in Israel. But the Maroons have figured out how to win without him this season.

“Anytime you lose a player like Josh, you expect to take a big hit in the program,” Jordan said. “But we have a bunch of guys that were ready to step up.”

Clinging to a 65-62 lead with 4:31 to go, the Maroons went on a 12-0 run to build a 77-62 cushion with 1:20 left.

“They got to a point where they [were] a little more physical,” said Rashad Reed, who had 16 points for Ferrum. “We were just worrying too much about foul calls and certain things with the referees.”

Jordan credited the Maroons’ resiliency for the team’s play down the stretch.

“When we get in situations like that, we’re never worried,” he said. “We just know how to pull through and fight together.”

The run began when Roanoke freshman Ethan Rohan snared an offensive rebound and Tripp Greene (14 points) drained a 3-pointer to extend the lead to 68-62.

“That was the game,” Ferrum coach Tyler Sanborn said. “That’s one of our biggest things is rebounding, trying to keep guys off the glass, because we’re smaller.”

Ferrum (7-8, 2-4) played without its second-leading scorer, James Smith Jr. (12.8 ppg), because of a leg injury. He is expected to return for the team’s game Saturday.

The Panthers lost starter Brandon Reeves (8.2 ppg) to an ankle injury in the first half of Wednesday’s game. He came back onto the court to watch the second half on crutches.

“We had to play some guys that haven’t played,” Sanborn said.

Ferrum jumped to a 21-18 lead with 11:00 left in the first half.

“They’re a hard team to guard. They get you on your heels because they run their stuff fast,” Nunley said.

The Maroons allowed just 10 points the rest of the half. Roanoke led 38-31 at halftime.

Roanoke opened the second half on a 15-4 run to build a 53-35 cushion with 13:29 to go.

Down 56-38, the Panthers went on a 13-2 run to cut the lead to 58-51 with 9:00 left.

“We started rebounding better. After we rebounded, we pushed the ball,” Reed said.

Ferrum shot 52.2% from the field in the first half but just 31% in the second half.

“That’s our Achilles heel. We have to shoot the ball well,” Sanborn said. “Sometimes we don’t take the right ones. Sometimes we don’t get the ball around enough and get inside-out open looks enough.”

Roanoke shot 56.5% from the field in the second half.

“We try not to be too stagnant, try not to let the ball stick and get everyone involved,” Jordan said.

Lord Botetourt graduate Joe Mikalauskas had 14 points and three 3-pointers off the bench for Roanoke, while Northside graduate Kasey Draper added 11 points.

Freshman reserve Caleb McReed scored 16 points for Ferrum.

The Panthers have already won two more games than they did all of last season, when they went 5-20 overall. Ferrum beat then-No. 19 Guilford earlier this month.

“We haven’t quite hit our rhythm yet … because we’re kind of so disjointed when injuries are happening,” Sanborn said. “We’re just not super consistent yet.”

ROANOKE (11-4, 5-1)

Jordan 5-10 4-4 16, Thomas 2-4 0-0 6, Greene 5-8 0-0 14, Draper 3-8 4-6 11, Rohan 2-6 3-6 7, Mendys 0-1 0-0 0, Edosomwan 1-2 1-2 3, Price 2-2 0-0 4, Mikalauskas 4-9 3-4 14, Harrell 0-1 0-0 0, Gault 1-2 3-4 5. Totals 25-53 18-26 80.

FERRUM (7-8, 2-4)

Reed 5-12 3-5 16, Jones 2-5 0-0 6, Reeves 1-4 0-0 2, Plair 4-5 2-4 10, Helton 1-3 0-0 2, Madden-McAfee 2-6 0-0 6, Scott 0-1 0-0 0, McReed 4-8 7-8 16, Young 2-8 5-5 9, Sene 0-0 0-0 0, Crawford 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-52 17-22 67.

Halftime—Roanoke, 38-31. Three-pointers—Roanoke 12-21 (Jordan 2-3, Thomas 2-3, Greene 4-6, Draper 1-2, Mikalauskas 3-6, Harrell 0-1), Ferrum 8-25 (Reed 3-8, Jones 2-5, Reeves 0-2, Helton 0-2, Madden-McAfee 2-5, McReed 1-2, Young 0-1). Rebounds—Roanoke 33 (Rohan 9), Ferrum 32 (Young 12). Fouls—Roanoke 19, Ferrum 23. Fouled out – Ferrum (Jones). Assists—Roanoke 12 (Draper 3), Ferrum 15 (Plair 5). Turnovers—Roanoke 12, Ferrum 16. Officials—NA. A—203.

Mark Berman covers Virginia Tech men’s basketball and many other teams at the university. He also helps cover other colleges, including Radford, VMI, Roanoke, Washington and Lee and Ferrum.

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