HAMPDEN-SYDNEY, VA - The Hampden-Sydney Tigers basketball team defeated Emory & Henry 71-61 in the first round of the ODAC Tournament. The win advances Hampden-Sydney to the quarterfinals on Friday night where they will face #3 seed Eastern Mennonite at 8 p.m. ODAC Tournament Ticket Books will go on sale immediately. The cost is $20 per book which covers all tournament games and can be purchased in the main athletic office - located on the second floor of Kirk Athletic Center - on Wednesday only until 4:00 p.m.
The first half proved to be tightly contested with the largest lead being just five points by the Wasps. Ru White (Chesterfield, VA/L.C. Bird) got off to a hot start, making his first two jumpers to give the Tigers a quick 4-2 lead just over a minute into the contest. E&H's Terrance Grigg made a layup in transition and Kyle Sensabaugh made a three pointer to give the Wasps a 7-4 advantage at the 16:33 mark.
The two squads continued to trade baskets with the Tigers down one, 11-10, with 13:15 left in the first stanza. Two point baskets by JT Murray and Malcolm Green provided the Wasps with a five-point lead, 15-10, with 11:19 to go. Five straight points from Patrick Corrigan (Richmond, VA/Collegiate) tied the game at 8:38 and it was still a tie ball game, this time 17-17, at the 5:33 mark. Hampden-Sydney regained the lead, their first since they led 4-2, when Randall Ward (Richmond, VA/John Marshall) buried a jumper. After another tie at 2:32, a Ward free throw put the Tigers back on top by one, and two White layups along with a Malcolm Green layin made it a 26-23 Tigers game at the half that featured six ties and two lead changes.
E&H scored the first points after intermission on a Josh Cunningham trifecta, making it a 26-26 contest. However, that would be the last time that the game was tied as the Tigers took over the game behind a suffocating full court press that forced turnover after turnover.
It took two minutes for either team to score, but a Ru White layup at 19:29 put the Tigers in the lead for good. After the layup, the full court press set in and Emory & Henry turned the ball over on their next three possessions, resulting in four points for the home team. After a Bobby Stafford layup cut it to four, the Tigers went on a 9-2 run that broke open the game and put the Tigers up 11 after a Khobi Williamson (Norfolk, VA/Maury) alley oop dunk off a lob pass on an out of bounds play.
White pushed the lead out to 12, 44-32, at the 12:36 mark, but Emory & Henry cut it to just six, 47-41, with 9:35 left. Harrison George (Raleigh, NC/Leesville) took over the game from there and answered back with a three pointer and he scored the next 12 H-SC points to put the Tigers up 59-43 with 5:27 remaining. H-SC led by 14 or more points the majority of the rest of the game as Ward scored nine points in the last five minutes to close the game out strong.
White finished with 17 points and a career-high 14 rebounds, eight coming on the offensive end, along with a block and two steals. George scored a game-high 20 points and had a block and two steals. Ward posted 14 points and three steals. Murray, Cunningham, and Grigg each had a team-high 11 points. Sensabaugh had nine points, Green eight, and Stafford had nine assists, five points, and four steals.
Each team struggled to clean up the glass on the defensive end as Hampden-Sydney had 18 offensive boards and Emory & Henry 13, leading to 21 second chance points with H-SC registering 15. E&H shot 44% for the game, but just 39% in the second half, while H-SC was 41% overall and 46% after intermission. The Tigers struggled from the three-point line, making just 4 of their 19 tries and the Wasps went 7-for-18. Hampden-Sydney held a big edge at the charity stripe, making 19 of their 27 attempts while E&H went 6-7. E&H coughed up the ball 23 times, leading to 22 points off turnovers for H-SC.
Hampden-Sydney will next play in Salem, VA, at the Salem Civic Center in the quarterfinals of the ODAC Tournament. They face third seeded Eastern Mennonite University on Friday at 8 p.m. The winner will play the winner of #2 Randolph-Macon vs. #9 Washington & Lee, who upset #8 seed Lynchburg 66-51.