HAMPDEN-SYDNEY, VA - The Hampden-Sydney Tigers basketball team record its fifth straight victory and second in a row over a Top-25 team, defeating The Marlins of Virginia Wesleyan College 80-71 in Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) action from Fleet Gymnasium.
The Tigers set the tone for the game from tip-off, playing sound defense while taking advantage of their size on the inside. H-SC raced out to a 14-1 lead at the 13:10 mark, holding VWC to an 0-8 shooting performance in the run. The Tigers continued to lead by double digits, leading 18-8 at the 11:09 mark, but the Marlins went on an 11-0 run to go up 19-18 with 7:08 remaining in the first-half as they used strong defense to key the spurt as they forced five Tigers turnovers. Hampden-Sydney took the lead back a minute later and built it back up to as many as nine, but a critical third foul whistled on Donald Vaughn, the leading shot blocker in the ODAC, with 5:40 left in the opening period would foreshadow things to come in the second-half.
Harrison George (Raleigh, NC/Leesville) put the Tigers up seven on the first H-SC possession of the half as he drained a three pointer from the top of the arc. VWC chipped away at the lead and made it an even game, 40-40, at the 16:29 mark off a three by Chris Teasley. Randall Ward (Richmond, VA/John ) answered back with a three of his own 30 seconds later to give the Tigers a three-point lead. Chris Astorga answered back with a jumper to make it a one-point contest, but Astorga picked up two straight fouls to give him four fouls and left the Marlins with their starting frontcourt settled with foul trouble.
Ed Roberts drained a three-pointer at 14:43 to give VWC a 2-point lead, 45-43, but Vaughn picked up his fourth foul of the game on the ensuing H-SC possession. With the game tied 48-48 with 11:37 remaining in the game, Ali Brown, the Marlins first bigman off the bench, also picked up his fourth foul. A Ru White (Chesterfield, VA/L.C. Bird) dunk gave H-SC a two-point lead at the 9:36 mark. The dunk energized the team and the crowd and helped incite an 11-0 run to give the Tigers firm control of the game. During the game deciding run, both Vaughn and Brown were sent to the bench for the game with five fouls apiece.
Virginia Wesleyan looked to be going on a run of their own with two straight layups, but a jumper by George and a Colin O'Neill (Fort Leavenworth, KS/Leavenworth) lay in quelled any momentum VWC gained. Marlin head coach Dave Macedo was whistled for a technical foul at 2:38 and Ward made the four straight free throws to provide H-SC a 12-point lead with 2:33 left in the game. The game got heated with 16 seconds left as an intentional foul by Roberts led to double technicals being issued.
George led all scorers with 22 points (8-14 FGs, 1-2 threes, 5-6 FTs) and also tallied six rebounds and two steals in 25 minutes. Ward contributed 17 points, as he drained nine of his 10 attempts at the foul line, and four assists. White posted 16 points, nine rebounds, and three assists while O'Neill continued his late season surge with 11 points. Ben Jessee (Midlothian, VA/Cosby) failed to make a field goal, but played strong defense and helped create offense with five assists.
Teasley paced Virginia Wesleyan with 17 points and three assists. Astorga put up 15 points and nine rebounds but struggled shooting, going 5-15 overall and 1-7 from three. DJ Woodmore had a quiet night offensively, but managed 15 points (6-16 FGs), seven rebounds, and five assists. Roberts came off the bench to score 10 points along with three assists.
H-SC shot 50% overall (24-48), 3-9 from three, and 29-40 from the foul line, courtesy of 31 Marlin fouls with four players fouling out. VWC was 25-63 (39.7) overall, 5-23 from deep, and 16-24 from the charity stripe. The Tigers out rebounded the Marlins 40-33. Hampden-Sydney won the battle in the paint 32-26, but H-SC fouled out the four top post players for VWC by consistently taking the ball inside.
Hampden-Sydney will return to the court on Valentine's Day on Monday, February 14, at 7 p.m. against Washington & Lee University.