Basketball Defeats Eastern Mennonite in a 104-94 Shootout
The game was a tightly contested affair for much of the first half. Leon Hargrove (Raleigh, NC / Middle Creek) got Hampden-Sydney on the board first with a dunk on an EMU player on the fastbreak and Khobi Williamson (Norfolk, VA / Maury) followed it up with a layup. Following an Owen Longacre layup, Hargrove converted on a floater, but a Dajon Daniel three-pointer and a Longacre jumper gave the Royals a 7-6 advantage at 17:39. Williamson answered with two free throws to regain the lead for H-SC, but Adam Burroughs made a jumper to take back the lead for EMU at 17:23.
RJ Sims drained a three-pointer, but Williamson and Harrison George (Raleigh, NC / Leesville Road) scored the next six points to make it a 16-12 Tiger advantage less than five minutes in. An 8-2 Eastern Mennonite run in less than two minutes put the Royals back on top, 20-18, with 13:46 left in the half.
Williamson and George stepped up to go on a 7-0 spurt to put H-SC in the lead by five, 25-20, with a highlight Williamson lob dunk from George during the run. Eastern Mennonite battled back as David Falk and Ryan Yates made back-to-back layups to trim the deficit down to 25-24with 9:10 remaining.
Over the next 5:20 of game time, Hampden-Sydney went on a game-changing 20-4 run. Williamson started it off with a layup and drew a charge on the defensive end, then Keegan Wetzel (Mebane, NC / Eastern Alamance) scored a layup of his own. H-SC continued to build the lead by pounding the paint and getting to the free throw line as H-SC made just one three-pointer during the streak but made five layups and five free throws.
With the score standing at 48-30 with 2:27 left, George scored the last eight points of the half for Hampden-Sydney to send the game into intermission with a 56-35 H-SC lead.
The Tigers and the Royals both were hot from the field in the second-half, but each team was able to match the other nearly point-for-point for most of the stanza. With Hampden-Sydney up 85-64 with 6:17 left, Eastern Mennonite began their crawl back in to the game. Owe Longacre score a layup and RJ Simms made two free throws. Following a Mike Murray (Norfolk, VA / Norfolk Christian) free throw, Sims splashed a three pointer to trim the lead down to 86-71 with 5:15 to go.
Each team exchanged three baskets to keep it a 15-point game with 3:56 remaining. Sims scored five of the next six points in the game along with a Yates free throw to make it a nine-point contest with 3:11 left. Williamson responded with a layup, but Sims answered with another trifecta, putting it at an eight-point lead, 94-86, with 2:38. Hampden-Sydney broke the full-court pressure defense, resulting in a Greg Lewis (Mechanicsville, VA / Hanover) layup. Sims stepped up with his third straight three-point basket to trim into the deficit again, 96-89, with 2:09 remaining in the game. That would be the closest the game would get the rest of the way as Hampden-Sydney went 8-8 from the charity stripe in the last two minutes.
George and Williamson were nearly unstoppable in the paint. George finished with a game-high 33 points, going 13-17 from the floor and 6-10 from the free throw line, along with nine rebounds, five assists, and two steals. The 33 points were one off his career best. Williamson posted a career-high 29 points, shooting 8-10 from the field and 13-15 at the charity stripe, with seven caroms. Murray didn't attempt a single field goal, but he still finished with 12 points by shooting 12-15 at the free throw line while adding on five assists. Lewis tacked on eight points, four assists, two steals, and two boards.
Sims scored a team-high 28 points for EMU, going 8-14 overall, 6-11 from three, and 6-6 from the foul line. Longacre posted 14 points, Andrew Thorne 13, and David Falk 11.
The Tigers were on fire all game long, shooting an incredible 32-45 (71.1%) overall, 4-5 (80%) from three, and 36-46 (78.3%) from the free throw line. Eastern Mennonite went 32-66 (48.5%) from the floor, 11-33 (33.3%) from deep range, and 19-30 (63.3%) at the free throw stripe. H-SC outrebounded EMU 35-24, and the Tigers bench proved supreme again, contributing 51 points while the Royal bench had 30.