HAMPDEN-SYDNEY, VA - The Hampden-Sydney Tigers basketball team got off to a quick start and held off a Generals comeback to win their sixth straight game, defeating Washington & Lee University 79-64. H-SC is now 15-8 overall and 7-7 in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC), just one game behind Randolph for fifth place in conference. The fifth place team in the standings receives a first-round bye in the ODAC Tournament while teams seeded 6-8 host a first-round tournament game on February 22.
The Tigers came out of the gates on fire and led by 11 points, 13-2, less than four minutes into the game behind eight points from Ben Jessee (Midlothian, VA/Cosby). Five straight points from Harrison George (Raleigh, NC/Leesville) and an Alex Potapov (Moscow, Russia/Florida Air) layup pushed the lead out to 14, 20-6, three minutes later. The Tigers continued to control the game and went up 31-16 at the 8:35 mark, but an 8-0 Generals run over the next 3 ½ minutes made it a seven-point contest, 31-24, with 5:01 remaining in the first stanza. Sasha Obradovic (Belgrade, Serbia/Hawaii Prep) ended the run with a trifecta and the Tigers went into the locker room at the half up 38-27.
The tide changed as the second-half got underway. Hampden-Sydney missed nine of their 10 field goal attempts and the first six minutes, scoring just three points, while WLU went 5-for-8 from the floor to cut the lead to just five, 41-36, at the 13:48 mark. Colin O'Neill (Fort Leavenworth, KS/Leavenworth) helped end the scoring drought with a layup, but a John Rice layup and a Kevin Gill three pointer made it a two-point contest to force a Tigers timeout. A Randall Ward (Richmond, VA/John Marshall) layup and a Ru White (Chesterfield, VA/L.C. Bird) free throw pushed the advantage back to five. W&L called a timeout after a John Rice foul, and White found George open under the basket off a cut for an easy layup to make it a 48-41 game at the 9:54 mark.
The lead continued to fluctuate around five to nine points over the next several minutes, but a Ward make from deep gave H-SC a 56-56 lead at 5:36. A Rice jumper and two J.D. Ey layups off turnovers cut it to four with 4:09 remaining. George answered back with four straight points to force a W&L timeout, but White converted a layin after the timeout and then Jessee drained a three point shot to put the Tigers up 15, 65-52, with 2:19 to go. H-SC converted free throws late to hold on to the win, which was punctuated with a thunderous Khobi Williamson (Norfolk, VA/Maury) dunk after breaking the full-court press.
George posted a team-high 22 points while shooting 7-12 overall and 7-9 from the foul line along with nine rebounds, two assists, and one steal. Jessee scored 19 points, his most since scoring 21 against Roanoke on January 8, while shooting 5-6 from deep and 7-12 from the floor. White tacked on 12 points, six rebounds, five assists, two steals, and one block. Ward contributed nine points and four assists while post player Fletcher Lumpkin (Richmond, VA/Mills Godwin) showed off his passing skills to full effect with a career-high six helpers in just 12 minutes.
Washington & Lee was led by Ey who posted a double-double with 19 points and 12 rebounds, seven of the offensive variety, along with two steals and one block. Rice and Gill came off the bench to provide 10 points each and Jason Cimino had a team-high five assists.
W&L outrebounded H-SC 38-32 behind 14 offensive boards, providing the Generals with a 19-4 edge in second chance points. The Tigers shot 50.9% for the game (57.1% in the first half) and 60% (9-15) from three range while making 12-16 FTs. H-SC recorded 23 assists on 29 made field goals while W&L has 12 assists. W&L turned over the ball 15 times compared to nine for Hampden-Sydney, leading to a 21-6 Tiger advantage in points off turnovers.
Hampden-Sydney hosts Guilford College on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) will be asking for monetary and canned food donations for a food drive for the Farmville Food Bank. It will also be a White Out game, so be sure to wear white to the game!