The Men’s Basketball team missed out on the NCAA tournament after they failed to capture an automatic bid against Randolph Macon in the ODAC Championship game. The Marlins finished the regular season with a 23-5 record. They finished ODAC play with a 13-3 record. After making it all the way to the ODAC Championship, the team was left stunned after the selection show had ended. At the end of the regular season the Marlins were ranked 16 in the final poll.
The Marlins were ranked most of the season after a strong start, but still couldn’t get into the tournament.
The Marlins opened up the ODAC conference tournament with a win against Ferrum in the quarterfinals. Corey Pelham had a career high with 30 points in the ODAC semifinals in a close victory against Lynchburg. Pelham was third on the team scoring with over thirteen points per game. The number one seeded Randolph Macon would go on to defeat the Marlins and win the ODAC championship. Men’s basketball assistant coach Nick Doyle said the championship was “tough game” and the Marlins “just ran into a better team that day”. There was a feeling around campus that it was nearly a guarantee that the team was going to be able to make into the tournament. Doyle said, “ Now we are going to the NCAA tournament. We thought we would have gotten a bid. Didn’t get a bid. We thought we were in good shape being 23-5”. He then said he thought the seniors deserved one more game.
Senior Daniel Spencer had a major impact on this team during his first year with the Marlins. The transfer from Emory & Henry led the team in minutes played, field goal percentage and was tied for first in scoring, “Monday, I mean it was obviously disappointing. It was an upsetting day. Bunch of people, including other people from other schools, thought we should have gotten in,” Spencer said. Tim Fisher and Spencer were tied with the team lead in scoring with 14.8 points per game. Spencer didn’t want to look at one game that decided the decision by the committee. “ I don’t want to pin it on one game, but I mean obviously the Emory & Henry loss is a really bad loss for us. It took us down in the region,” Spencer said.
The one team that stands out that made into the tournament over the Marlins was the Captains of Christopher Newport University. CNU had fewer wins in the regular season than the Marlins. They lost to the Marlins 74-64 back in December. It was an unfortunate scenario that a game during the regular season decided the entire season. The loss to Emory & Henry really brought the Marlins down in the region.
There were three Marlins that were tabbed with All-ODAC honors. Tim Fisher and Daniel Spencer were named to the first-team. Corey Pelham was named to the third-team.
Lamont Steward will be returning to the court next season for his senior season after missing the entire 2019-2020 season due to injury. Steward played a major role for the Marlins back in the 2018-2019 season when he led the team in scoring by averaging fifteen points per game. The Marlins are bringing back a talented group of guys, and they are looking to build off of their success from this season.