WINCHESTER, VA-The Hampden-Sydney Tigers improved to 3-1 on the year while winning their first game in the South Region Hoops Challenge with an87-78 victory over the host Shenandoah University Hornets. Hampden-Sydney was led by junior guard Ben Jessee (Midlothian, VA/Cosby) who scored a game-high 19 points. Sophomore Harrison George (Raleigh, NC/Leesville) was not far behind with 18 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.
Though Hampden-Sydney fell in an early 4-1 hole, the Tigers used a 5-0 run to take the one point lead at the 15:09 mark. Shenandoah responded, retaking the lead and pushing it to 9-5. The Tigers pounced again, however, and a Khobi Williamson (Norfolk, VA/Maury) jump shot and foul shot reclaimed the Tiger lead at 13-11 with 12:23 on the clock.
The back-and-forth battle continued, with neither team able to pull away. A George three-pointer at the 5:22 mark capped off an 11-1 run and gave the Tigers their biggest lead of the half at 26-19. The Hornets battled back and a Mitch Dudley lay up made it a 26-24 game.
Back-to-back three pointers from Jack Sumner (Gastonia, NC/Forestview) and Alex Potapov (Moscow, Russia/Florida Air) followed by a Ru White (Chesterfield, VA/L.C. Bird) pushed Hampden-Sydney to a 34-26 lead at the half.
White continued to roll, hitting the first jumper of the second half to take the ten point lead. The two teams traded baskets, but a Potapov lay up put the Tigers up 45-32 at the 16:04 mark. A Williamson dunk gave the Tigers a little momentum as their lead increased, and Williamson's second dunk - a minute and a half later - put Hampden-Sydney up 51-33.
Shenandoah slowly chipped away, and two Dominic Chappell free throws cut the Tiger lead to 11 at 53-42 at the 11:42 mark. Though Potapov put the lead back at 13, Shenandoah continued to battle. Kevin Kline hit a lay up to make it a seven point game at 57-50 with 8:07 to play.
The Tigers, however, were able to maintain their lead, pushing it back to double digits when a George dunk made it a 63-52 game. Jessee pushed it to 13 soon after, but Kline again cut into the lead after his lay up cut it to 70-60 at the 4:12 mark.
Colin O'Neill (Fort Leavenworth, KS/Leavenworth) knocked down a jump shot that put the Tigers back up 14. Shenandoah spent the final minutes fouling, but Hampden-Sydney, which went 22-29 from the charity stripe on the night, was able to ice the game.
To go with Jessee and George's combined 37 points, White added 12 points and seven rebounds. O'Neill, Williamson and Potapov were also solid, pitching in with nine points each. As a team, Hampden-Sydney was 51.8% (29-56) from the field, 38.9% (7-18) from beyond the arc, and 75.9% (22-29) from the free throw line. They also out rebounded the Hornets 40-26.
Shenandoah was led by Dudley and Kline who each scored 16 points. As a team, they shot 45.9% (28-61) from the floor.
Hampden-Sydney returns to action tomorrow, November 28 as it faces the Battling Bishops of North Carolina Wesleyan in the second day of the South Region Hoops Challenge at Shenandoah University. Tip-off is set for 1:00 pm.