FERRUM – In a game where high-octane, up-tempo style play was on display from opening tap to final buzzer, Ferrum College’s men’s basketball team claimed its first victory of the season, 90-82 over William Peace (North Carolina) University Saturday at William P. Swartz Gymnasium.
The Panthers (1-1), who trailed by two points, 37-35, at intermission, netted 55 points after halftime in achieving their first victory of the season.
Also, Ferrum stops a five-game losing streak dating to last year with the triumph.
Senior guard Rashad Reed tallied a game-best 28 points to lead a quartet of double-figure scorers for the Panthers.
Despite committing three first-half fouls, Reed, who is closing in on the 1,000-point career scoring milestone, netted 13 points.
Throughout the game, Reed displayed his skills at both driving to the basket for points and at hitting shots from the perimeter.
“(Rashad) is a very versatile player,’’ third-year Panthers bench boss Tyler Sanborn said.
Reed made two technical foul free throws at the start of the second half to square the count at 37 and once the Panthers captured the lead, the did not surrender it.
With Ferrum leading by three, 43-40, the Panthers produced a 10-3 scoring surge to push the spread to 10 points.
Ferrum would later match that difference, 59-49, and expand it to 13 points after a 3-point field goal at the 13:24 mark.
A break-away dunk by Reed would later yield a 66-54 lead, but the Pacers (0-3) responded with a six-point spurt to cut the deficit in half.
Two free throws by Reed would enable the Panthers to respond with a 5-1 run, a surge that was stopped by two Peace 3-pointers that enabled the visitors to pull within four points, 71-67, with 5 1/2 minutes left.
A deuce and two free throws by Marcus Plair, a Reed trey and another Ferrum basket gave the Panthers an 11-point, 80-69, cushion, a difference they would match when James Smith Jr. swished two free throws with 3:03 to play.
The spread was 10, 86-76, when Peace made one final surge with two free throws and a 3-pointer to cut its deficit in half with 1:06 to play.
A Plair basket and two free throws by Smith completed Ferrum’s second-half scoring display.
Plair, a returnee from last year’s five-win squad, notched a double-double, his first of the season, with 10 points, including eight in the second half, and a game-best 14 rebounds, nine of which he claimed after intermission. Also, he blocked two shots.
Plair was one rebound shy of a double-double in Ferrum’s season-opening, six-point loss to Methodist (North Carolina) University.
Smith, a former Halifax County prep standout who transferred to Ferrum, finished with eight points, six assists and three rebounds.
Kujuaan Madden-McAfee and Brandon Reeves each tallied 14 points for the Panthers. Madden-McAfee grabbed seven rebounds and distributed three assists.
“…I thought we set the tone early (the Panthers scored 20 of the game’s first 31 points), but we had some lapses towards the end of the first half which led to (Peace) getting back in the game,’’ Sanborn said.
“We have a lot of things to clean up – too many mental errors and blown coverages defensively – but our (offensive) execution was a lot better (and that) led to open shots,’’ Sanborn said.
“I’m really excited about getting back to work and moving closer to our potential as a team,’’ Sanborn said.
Camden Ferguson led Peace with 20 points, 12 of which he netted after halftime.
Also, Tysen Sellers scored nine of his 14 points in the second half and Mikal Gaylord tallied 10 of his 12 points over the closing 20 mimutes.
Sellers pulled down four rebounds and passed out four assists, while Gaylord distrbuted four assists and Trey Bryant scored eight points, grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked two shots.
The Panthers made 48.4 percent (30 of 62) of their shots from the field as opposed to the Pacers’ 41 percent (25 of 61) shooting clip.
Ferrum won the rebounding battle, 45-30, and also held advantages in assists (16-15), second-chance points (17-8), points in the paint (36-20) and bench points (24-22).
The Panthers did commit 16 turnovers and the Pacers scored 18 points off of those blunders.
Peace committed 11 turnovers which led to nine Ferrum points.
Ferrum returns to action today when it visits former USA South foe Greensboro (North Carolina) College for a non-league encounter. Tip off at Hanes Gymnasium is 7 p.m.