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NC Wesleyan Edges #23 Tigers 73-70

Harrison George

FREDERICKSBURG, VA-In the second game of the Fourth Annual South Region Hoops Challenge, #23 Hampden-Sydney basketball fell 73-70 to the Battling Bishops of North Carolina Wesleyan. With the loss, Hampden-Sydney falls to 3-2 overall while the Bishops improve to 4-2. Junior forward Harrison George (Raleigh, NC/Leesville) led the Tigers with 20 points in 24 minutes of play.

This game ends the five game road stint to start the season, and the Tigers will next open up its home and ODAC season with a match up against Eastern Mennonite on Wednesday, November 30.

Hampden-Sydney and North Carolina Wesleyan got off to an even start as the game was tied at 8-8 over four minutes into the game. The Bishops were able to pull away first, and a 5-0 run capped off by a Josh Morrison lay up and-one put them up 13-8 at the 14:39 mark.

Two free throws from George cut it to three, but the Bishops continued to push the game back to a five point difference. George scored 10 straight points for the Tigers, but North Carolina Wesleyan again pushed its lead, taking a 24-16 lead on a Matt Dougherty lay up with just over 11 minutes to play in the half.

The teams continued to trade baskets, but two free throws from Greg Lewis (Mechanicsville, VA/Hanover) and a lay up from Leon Hargrove (Raleigh, NC/Middle Creek) put the Tigers within four with just under seven to play.

North Carolina Wesleyan pushed the lead back to seven, but back-to-back buckets from Khobi Williamson (Norfolk, VA/Maury) and Ben Jessee (Midlothian, VA/Cosby) cut the Tiger deficit to 33-30 with 2:21 on the clock.

The Bishops' Alex Murray was able to get the last basket of the half to give his team a 35-30 advantage at intermission.

Hampden-Sydney began to chip away in the second half, and George put the Tigers within one at 39-38. Just 19 seconds later, George threw down a dunk to give the Tigers their first lead since four minutes into the game.

Both teams then traded the lead four times over the next three and a half minutes. After Alex Murray tied the game for the sixth time at 47-47, Sasha Obradovic (Belgrade, Serbia/Hawaii Prep) converted a lay up to again give the Tigers the lead.

The Tigers tried to pull away, but the Bishops continued to find ways to respond. A George lay up at the 10:45 mark put the Tigers up three, but Cornelius Snow fired back with a triple to tie the game at 54-54. Murray then took the lead for the Bishops, but White responded for the Tigers to again tie the game.

White's bucket was the first of a 9-0 Tiger run that provided a 63-56 lead with 7:02 to play. The Bishops slowly chipped away, and a Snow three pointer cut the Hampden-Sydney lead to 67-64 with just under five minutes.

After both teams struggled to score, Morrison tied the game for the tenth time, as his lay up at the 2:15 mark made it a 68-68 game. The next field goal came almost a minute later, as Murray connected on a lay up to take the 70-68 lead for the Bishops.

Devin Nichols then stole the inbounds pass and missed the lay up, but a foul sent him to the free throw line. After missing both, the Tigers tried to tie the game. A turnover gave it right back to the Bishops, but George was there to block Nichols' shot attempt. Though George posted the block, North Carolina Wesleyan was able to track the ball down, and then snare the offensive rebound to force a foul. Nichols connected on both free throws to give North Carolina Wesleyan a 72-68 lead with just 15 seconds remaining.

White converted on the other end of the floor to put the Tigers within two with six seconds. Nichols then went one-of-two from the line to give the Tigers one more shot, down 73-70 but Jessee's last second shot did not fall.

George led all scorers with 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting and 4-of-6 accuracy from the foul line. White scored a season-high 18 points to go with five rebounds. Williamson had a solid outing with 12 points on 6-of-9 shooting, a career-high 15 rebounds, three assists and one block.

As a team the Tigers were 29-of-62 (46.8%) but just 1-of-18 (5.6%) from beyond the arc. They outrebounded North Carolina Wesleyan 43 to 41. The Bishops won the turnover battle, however, turning it over 10 times to Hampden-Sydney's 15.

The Bishops saw five players score in double figure, including a team-high 16 points from Morrison. Morrison also added eight rebounds. Nichols notched 15 including several key points down the stretch. Domarius Thomas scored 13 points while Snow and Murray scored 11 and 10, respectively. Murray was big on the boards with a team-high nine rebounds - six on the offensive end. As a team, the Bishops shot 39.7% (29-73) from the floor, 20% (4-20) from beyond the arc, and 64.7% (11-17) from the foul line.

Hampden-Sydney returns to action for its home and ODAC opener on Wednesday, November 30 against Eastern Mennonite University. Tip-off is set for 7:00 pm.

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