Salem, Va. -- Following the best regular season in program history, University of Lynchburg's men's basketball team's postseason came to an early end in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference tournament quarterfinals with a 74-72 loss to Roanoke at the Salem Civic Center Thursday night.
The third-seeded Hornets overcame a 15-point deficit to take a two-point lead with 48 seconds remaining, but No. 6-seed Roanoke made the final four points of the contest to hold on for victory.
The Maroons retook the lead with 0.8 seconds left on the clock after Roanoke freshman Tripp Greene was fouled leaping for a rebound. Greene hit both free throws.
Junior guard Chance Greene (Creedmoor, N.C.) and sophomore forward T.C. Thacker (Madison Heights, Va.) were instrumental in the Lynchburg comeback. Chance Greene tallied a team-high 20 points for the Hornets, while Thacker piled up an 18-point, eight-rebound effort, going 9-for-10 from the field.
Senior forward Connor Schroeder (Blacksburg, Va.) added 16 points and six rebounds for Lynchburg.
The Hornets forced a Roanoke turnover on the game's first possession and took a 2-0 lead after a pair of free throws from junior forward Cody Lang (Madison Heights, Va.), but the Maroons took over the first half after that. Roanoke careened out to a 22-13 lead and shot 65.2 percent (15-for-23) from the field in the first half.
Lynchburg hung around, however, as the Maroons led 42-36 at halftime.
The Hornets continued to chip away early in the second, cutting the lead to 42-40 with the first two baskets of the period, but the Maroons pulled back away with an 8-0 run. The Roanoke lead continued to wane and wax through most of the half, swelling to as much as 14 until Lynchburg hacked away at it in the late going.
The run started with just under 6 minutes remaining.
Schroeder kicked it off with a 3-pointer at the 5:57 mark, followed by a Chance Greene layup and a pair of free throws from Schroeder, both after defensive stops by the Hornets.
Roanoke made it 70-65 with 3:28 remaining on Freund's 1-for-2 effort at the line, Roanoke's only missed free throw of the night, but Lynchburg fired right back as Thacker tipped in Chance Greene's miss and, after Thacker's offensive rebound on the Hornets' next possession, Greene drove in for a left-handed layup with 1:36 on the clock, cutting the score to 70-69 Roanoke.
Neither team scored on the following possessions, and Thacker again pulled down a Lynchburg miss and found Greene on the right elbow, who pump-faked, dribbled, and sank a corner 3 to put the Hornets ahead, 72-70, for the first time since the 19:35 mark in the first half.
The lead was short-lived, however. Roanoke's Dillon Thomas drew a foul with 36 seconds to play and tied the score with two free throws, and the Maroons got the ball back following a Hornets turnover.
Roanoke called timeout to draw up a play with 8 seconds remaining but missed the would-be game-winning 3-point attempt. Just before the buzzer, however, Tripp Greene drew the foul and sank both free throws to seal the Roanoke's win.
The quarterfinal exit from the tournament is the third in a row for Lynchburg, the end to an historic season for the Hornets.
The team earned a national ranking in the D3hoops.com top 25 poll for the first time in program history, climbing to as high as No. 14 in the ballot, and were ranked as high as fourth in the NCAA Division III South Region. Lynchburg is currently ranked No. 6 in the region; Roanoke is ranked seventh.
The Hornets finish the year with a 20-6 record, the fourth time in program history that Lynchburg has reached the 20-win plateau.