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Tigers Fall in Heartbreaker in ODAC Quarterfinals

Ru White

SALEM, VA-Hampden-Sydney overcame a 16 point first half deficit to take a 75-74 lead over Eastern Mennonite with just 18 seconds remaining in the last game of the ODAC Quarterfinals in the Salem Civic Center. It was Eli Crawford who put the game-winning tip in with under two seconds left lifting his team to advance to the Semifinals after a Ru White (Chesterfield, VA/L.C. Bird) half court shot fell off the rim.

The Royals came out ready to play, jumping to a 10-4 lead just over three minutes into the game. After a Patrick Corrigan (Richmond, VA/Collegiate) cut the lead to 10-6, Eastern Mennonite ran out to a 16 point advantage, leading 26-10 at the 12:29 mark.

A 5-0 run from the Tigers, however, with a triple from Jack Sumner (Gastonia, NC/Forestview) and two free throws from White made it a 26-15 game. After the Royals pushed the lead back to 16 at the 8:15 mark, back-to-back threes from Ben Jessee (Midlothian, VA/Cosby) and Harrison George (Raleigh, NC/Leesville) cut it to ten at 33-23.

After several traded baskets, two points at the charity stripe fromm White made it a single digit game with the Tigers trailing 41-33 with just under two minutes to play in the half. Just plays later, Keegan Wetzel (Mebane, NC/Eastern Alamance) hit a lay up with time expiring to put the score at 44-37 going into intermission.

The Tigers continued their run into the second half, eventually taking their first lead on a White and-one. At the 15:26 mark, George pushed the Tiger lead to five at 50-45 in favor of Hampden-Sydney. Eastern Mennonite, however, would not go away and eventually retake the lead when a Todd Phillips triple put his squad up 54-52.

In the exciting back and forth battle, the lead changed ten times with three ties over the next ten minutes. The Royals, at the 3:33 mark, took a 71-69 lead on a D.J. Hinson three pointer.

The Royals held on to the lead until the 1:49 mark when White reclaimed the Tiger lead at 75-74. Neither team could find the bucket, until 1.8 seconds left when Crawford put in the stick back to lift the Royals to victory.

White led all scorers with 23 points to go with seven rebounds and four assists. George was not far behind while posting a double-double of 20 points and 13 rebounds. Jessee was the only other Tiger to score in double figures with 11. Wetzel was also solid offensively, connecting on all four of his field goal attempts for eight points. As a team, the Tigers were 31-65 (47.7%) from the floor, 4-17 (23.5%) from beyond the arc and a perfect 9-9 from the charity stripe.

Hinson led the Royals with 17 points, while Crawford and Phillips added 15 and 14, respectively. Andrew Thorne notched 12 points, and Orie Pancione had a monster night on the boards with 13, including seven on the offensive end. Eastern Mennonite was 29-78 (37.2%) on the night, 9-28 (32.1%) from deep, and 9-13 (69.2%) from the free throw line.