Hornets Outlast WildCats to win ODAC Title in OT Thriller

Photo courtesy of Pete Emerson

SALEM, Va. --- The Lynchburg College basketball team defeated Randolph College 62-60 in overtime Sunday afternoon to capture the 2016 Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) Tournament title, the first conference crown for the program since the 1979 season.

LC opened a nine-point lead early in the second half (32-23), but Randolph used a 16-5 run to go ahead 39-37 with 10 minutes left in regulation. The game was tight for the remainder of the contest, but the WildCats opened a five-point edge at 56-51 with 1:15 on the game clock. A traditional three-point play from senior forward Austen Arnoldtrimmed the lead the two, and LC got a stop on the defensive end. Junior guard Zack Burnett was fouled with four seconds left, and calmly sank both free throws to force overtime.

Burnett hit another pair of free throws in overtime to give Lynchburg a 60-58 lead, but Randolph's Josh Freund did the same on the other end to tie the score. LC hit a free throw to assume a one-point lead, and each team got a defensive stop in the final minute to give LC the ball in the closing seconds. The WildCats fouled Burnett with 8.5 seconds to play, and he hit one of two from the charity stripe. Randolph, without any time outs left, had a potential game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer hit off the front of the rim.

Burnett finished with a team-high 13 points, while Graves posted nine points, 11 rebounds, six assists and four blocks. Arnold ended the game with 10 points and seven rebounds before fouling out in overtime and Omar Kempcontributed eight points and four rebounds. Lyndon White scored seven points to go with six rebounds, three assists and two steals. Jay Allen also had seven points.

Freund and Corey Brown each had 14 points and seven rebounds for Randolph (17-12). Jason Eddie added seven points and five assists.

The Hornets opened a fast 9-0 lead in the game's first three minutes with baskets from four different players. Lynchburg extended the advantage to 12 (27-15) with three minutes left in the first half, but the WildCats closed the half on a 6-0 run. The LC defense held Randolph to 29 percent shooting in the first half and 0-9 from three-point land.

Graves followed up his ODAC Player of the Year award with Tournament Most Outstanding Player honors. Arnold and Burnett joined him on the all-tournament team.

The Hornets (22-4) earn the ODAC's automatic bid into the NCAA Division III Tournament, and will find out where they will be headed for more playoff action tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. on the NCAA Selection show here.

The 22 wins ties the program record for most wins in a season and Lynchburg enters its first NCAA Tournament since the 1979 season on a six-game winning streak.

Austen Arnold, LC
Zack Burnett, LC
Alex Graves, LC (MOP)
Corey Brown, RAND
Zach Desgain, RAND

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