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Monarchs Upset #23 Tiger Hoops 81-79

Randall Ward

FAYETTEVILLE, NC - The Methodist University Monarchs earned an 81-79 upset win over #23 Hampden-Sydney on Tuesday evening in Fayetteville, NC.

Methodist started out the game with a 4-0 lead behind a jumper from Terrell Stallings and two free throws from Mark Jernigan, but Ben Jessee (Midlothian, VA/Cosby) drilled a three-pointer and a Cam Anderson (Charlottesville, VA/Blue Ridge) three point play put the Tigers up 6-4. Despite the first-half behind closely contested, the Tigers would lead for the remainder of the half. H-SC continued to gradually build the lead with it swelling to 10, 22-12, after a Randall Ward (Richmond, VA/John Marshall) trifecta at the 11:26 mark. Methodist's Jake McSwain scored two straight buckets and a Jernigan jumper cut the lead to four over the next two minutes. The highlight of the half came at the 8:12 mark when Khobi Williamson (Norfolk, VA/Maury) threw down a tip-in dunk.

H-SC started to pull ahead again late in the first half when a Ward shot from deep range made is 29-22 at 6:56, but two jumpers from Bryan Hockaday would trim the advantage to only three in less than a minute. A Fletcher Lumpkin (Richmond, VA/Mills Godwin) layup and three poitns from Harrison George (Raleigh, NC/Leesville) put the lead back to eight, 34-26, at 4:28, but seven straight points over three minutes made it just a one-point game at 1:47 left in the first stanza. Ru White (Chesterfield, VA/Allegany) and Williamson scored the next four points while a Tyre Blakely free throw closed out the half with the Tigers up 38-34.

Each team shot 15-37 (41%) for the half and made four free throws, but the difference proved to be behind the arc where the Tigers made four and Methodist went 0-4. The Monarchs turned over the ball 12 times compared to 10 for Hampden-Sydney. MU outrebounded H-SC 25-20 with a 10-8 advantage on the offensive encorrid. Ward had nine points in the half while Anderson posted seven points and four rebounds, and Hockaday paced Methodist with nine points and six caroms.

Williamson opened the half with a layup, but a Hockaday layup and a Jernigan three-point play cut the lead back to one, 40-39, a minute in to the contest. Methodist then took their first lead after leading 4-0 when  Terrell Stallings hit a three to complete an 8-0 run. Williamson ended the run with a jumper, but Hockaday put the Monarchs back on top with a pair of freebies and a Jernigan jumper gave MU a 46-42 lead at 17:31.

Methodist continued to build on the lead by forcing turnovers and went up five, but Lumpkin stopped the bleading with a layup to make it a three-point contest at 16:18. After a MU timeout, James Whitehead and Hockaday tacked on two layups to go up 51-44 and force a Tiger timeout at 15:48. After the timeout, Keegan Wetzel (Mebane, NC/Eastern Alamance) penetrated for two but committed a foul on Whitehead from behind the line as he made all three to put MU up eight, 54-46.

Williamson snared an offensive rebound and converted on a three-point playnd White buried a trifected to trim the lead to 54-52, at 14:23. White drove to the basket for a pretty layup to make it an 8-0 run and make it a tie ballgame, 54-54, at 13:36. The Tigers then took the lead after a Williamson free throw, going up 55-54 with 13:11 to go in the game. The run extended to 12-0 after a MU turnover resulted in a Ward three from the corner.

Blake Lanier ended the Tiger run with a jumper on the next possession, but Anderson drove to the basket and dished the ball out to Ward who buried a three to put H-SC back up by five at the 10:14 mark. Greg Lewis (Mechanicsville, VA/Hanover) put the Tigers up eight, 64-56, after a three, but Whitehead answered back with a three of his own to cut the lead back to five at 8:30. Just over a minute later, Anderson threw down a monsterous alley oop jam off a Patrick Corrigan (Richmond, VA/Collegiate) pass and then Anderson went down on defense to reject a Whitehead layup. H-SC lead by seven, 73-66, with 4:28 left in the contest, but a Kyle Combs layup off an offensive rebound made it a five-point game and led to a Tigers timeout at 3:58.

Williamson went up for a dunk 20 seconds later and was blocked, but with a lot of contact, leading to a technical fouled being issued on the Hampden-Sydney bench. Jernigan made both technical free throws and Whitehead made a jumper to make it just a 73-72 H-SC lead at 3:17. Jernigan then put the Monarchs up 74-73 with 2:32 left in the game. H-SC missed two shot on their next possession, but Williamson rejected a Whitehead layup on the next MU possession. MU continued to get offensive rebounds and it paid off again as Whitehead scored a two-point basket with 1:07 left in the cotest to go up 76-73.

Jessee missed a three-pointer and Jernigan grabbed the rebound with 39 seconds left on the clock and called a timeout with 29 seconds left in the game and a three second difference between the clock and the shot clock. Unable to get the steal early, H-SC fouled Jernigan for a two-shot foul as he made both to put the Monarchs up 78-73 wtih 22 seconds left. The Tigers then turned it over on their next possession and was forced to foul Jernigan with 15.4 seconds to go as he made one of two free throws. Ward made a shot from deep to make it 79-76, but Methodist made two free throws to seal the game after a Lewis three at the buzzer to provide the final margin of 81-79.

Each team struggled to shoot with H-SC making 43% of its attempts compared to 40% for MU. Hampden-Sydney held a big advantage on threes, making 11 to just two for Methodist. Methodist held a huge advnatage at the free throw lines, making 21 of 27 while the Tigers went 8-12. Turnovers and rebounding continued to plague Hampden-Sydney as they committed 20 turnovers and allowed 22 offensive rebounds en route to being outrebounded 46-41.

Ward scored 21 points while going 7-10 from three point range and had five rebounds and four assists. White added 13 points and five rebounds while Williamson 12 points, eight caroms, and three blocks. Anderson contributed nine points, eight rebounds, two steals, and two blocks. Whitehead lead Methodist with 19 points and Jernigan added 18 points while going 8-9 at the charity stripe. Stallings and Hockaday each contributed with a double-double as Stallings had 13 points and 10 boards and Hockaday 18 points and 10 rebounds.

Hampden-Sydney will travel to Mary Washington University this weekend to participate in the South Regions Hoops Challenge. H-SC will face Shenandoah on Saturday at 5 p.m. and will play NC Wesleyan on Sunday at 1 p.m.

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