FERRUM — An elaborate introduction of its starting line-up may have foreshadowed Ferrum College’s immediate future Wednesday night.
The Panthers’ starting five took the William P. Swartz Gymnasium floor in near darkness, only to shine plenty of light on their scoring prowess in a 98-74 rout of Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) rival Emory & Henry College Wednesday.
The win enables the Panthers (7-6 in the ODAC, 12-10 overall) to better the .500 mark in conference play and move two games above basketball par overall with three regular-season games to play, all in conference play with two of those on the road.
Ferrum has yet to lose in February and its four-game winning streak is the team’s best since the 2015-16 campaign when it achieved triumphant runs of four and five games.
The Panthers tallied 59 points in the second half and their 98 points is a season-best output.
A corps of reserves made three attempts to reach triple digits, but it failed to convert. Rather than taking a shot on its final possession of the game, Ferrum opted to let time expire.
The Panthers’ advantage surpassed the 30-point mark for the first time, 83-52, with 5:17 remaining. It reached a high of 36 on three occasions and was not reduced into the 20s until the Wasps (2-12 in the ODAC, 5-18 overall) tallied the game’s last seven points on a 3-point field goal and a four-point play.
Ten of the 15 players who saw action for the Panthers contributed points to the victory. Fourteen players took at least one shot.
The Wasps dressed only nine players and played them all. Eight scored, three of whom were in double figures accounting for 49 points, while five others combined for 25.
The Wasps’ Colin Molden, the ODAC’s leading scorer was 9 of 18 from the field for a game-best 23 points. His effort enabled him to become a 1,000-point scorer for his career.
Molden was one rebound (he claimed nine) and three assists (he passed out seven) shy of a triple double.
“He’s really good,’’ Ferrum bench boss Tyler Sanborn said.
Emory & Henry has surrendered more than 90 points in each of its last two games, both conference losses, and 11 times this season.
Ferrum placed six players in double figures and was six points shy of placing two other performers in double figures.
The Panthers won the rebounding battle 56-33 and held a 19-6 edge on the offensive glass.
“I like that. Nineteen offensive rebounds, you’ve got to love that,’’ Sanborn said.
Each team was 13 of 37 from the 3-point arc and 9 of 15 from the free-throw line. Overall, Ferrum took 81 shots and made 38 for a 46.9 shooting clip one that was strengthened by its 58.5 percent second-half shooting.
Each team scored 20 more points in the second half than it did in the first; 27 to 47 for Emory & Henry, 39 to 59 for Ferrum.
Ferrum led by 12 points, 39-27, at intermission, and rather than having to fight off early, second-half comebacks by the opposition, as were the cases in recent Swartz conference wins over Bridgewater College and Shenandoah University, the Panthers maintained their lead and extended it — at the first time out of the half (at 14:22) , the difference was 15 points, 54-39.
“We talked about that (at halftime), then they came out and hit a three to start the half and I thought, ‘Not again,’ “ Sanborn said.
“We did some good things, and they don’t have a lot of depth,’’ Sanborn said.
Ferrum held a 19 -point, 64-45, when the Panthers took a time out at 11:08. A run of 10 points by the Panthers featured a Rashad Reed back-door flush and a deuce and a basket by Nick Helton.
Later, a Helton trey with 8:37 to play made the count 71-48.
The difference was 21 points, 73-52, when the Panthers produced a 15-0 surge, one that featured three consecutive treys, the last two by Kajuan Madden-McAfee and a dunk by Madden-McAfee, whose night ended with the slam.
Ferrum scored eight of the game’s first 10 points and led 11-4 at one point before Emory & Henry crafted a 10-0 run to erase the deficit.
The Panthers were head 23-19 with 6:35 showing, 29-19 with 4:32 remaining and 32-22 with 3:10 to go.
Three of Ferrum’s last four points of the half came from the free-throw line.
Madden-McAfee swished two tries after Emory & Henry’s head coach was assessed a technical foul.
Only three Wasps players logged fewer than 20 minutes, but only Molden saw more than 30 minutes of action.
Dylan Catron finished with 15 points for the Wasps and Micah Banks scored 11.
Madden-McAfee’s double-double for 17 points and 12 rebounds guided the Panthers. He was 6 of 10 from the field and nine of his rebounds were on the defensive end of the floor.
Reed, the only Ferrum performer to play more than 30 minutes, was 7 of 13 from the field for 16 points. He needs four points to reach the 1,200-point mark in career scoring.
Also, Carrington Young, who was 6 of 8 from the field, netted 13 points, Kalip Jones tallied 12, Helton scored 11 and Marcus Plair finished with 10.
The contest was the Panthers’ penultimate regular-season home game.
They play Eastern Mennonite University Saturday and Randolph College Wednesday before finishing at Swartz Gym against Washington and Lee University on Feb. 22.