Defensive-Minded Tigers Avenge Loss To Quakers

Published 4:32 pm Tuesday, January 29, 2013

HAMPDEN-SYDNEY – The Hampden-Sydney College basketball team exacted a little revenge over the only team to hand the Tigers an Old Dominion Athletic Conference defeat this year, and pulled back into a tie for first in the conference standings in the process, as the No. 23 Tigers defeated Guilford College 76-52 on Saturday afternoon at Fleet Gymnasium.

The Tigers (17-2, 9-1 ODAC) pulled out to a comfortable lead in the first half, led by 20 at the intermission and were never really challenged in the 24-point victory over the Quakers, who defeated H-SC 68-54 in Greensboro, NC, on January 5.

“That may have been the best game we've played all year, defensively,” said H-SC head coach Dee Vick. “The two days of preparation we stressed attention to detail. A goal of ours has been to hold our opponents to under 40 percent [shooting] from the floor. Today, we held Guilford to under 35 percent.”

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The formula used was a familiar one. Use strong defense to generate easy transition buckets on the other end. Guilford did a good job of limiting the Tigers' fastbreak opportunities early on, but H-SC used two spurts to build the 20-point halftime lead.

The fastbreak conversions helped the H-SC guards from behind the three-point arc.

A three-pointer by Patrick Corrigan with 11:23 left in the opening period gave the Tigers a 16-8 lead. Threes by Khobi Williamson and Mike Murray helped H-SC extend its lead to 26-12 at the 8:15 mark.

A short Williamson jumper put H-SC ahead 31-20 with 4:38 remaining in the half, and the Tigers closed out the remainder of the period on a 12-1 run that included three pointers by Keegan Wetzel and Leon Hargrove, along with two fast break buckets from Harrison George.

Guilford (14-5, 6-4) pulled to within 12 points at 43-31 on a jumper by Josh Pittman at the 15:35 mark, but the Tigers quickly extended the lead back to 20 points at 54-34 on a Corrigan three.

Guilford again made things interesting following a pair of foul shots by Pittman with 6:30 remaining to close to within 14 at 58-44. Down 12, the Quakers forced a H-SC turnover, but a stop by the Tigers was followed by a transition layup by Williamson to stop the bleeding. Wetzel hit another three moments later to put the Tigers back up 19 points, and a three-pointer by Fletcher Lumpkin with 4:07 remaining in regulation restored H-SC's 20-point cushion and put the game out of reach.

“I could see some motivation in our guys eyes,” said Vick. “Khobi especially. He let Zeb Richardson get the better of him down there, but really controlled the middle for us today, and almost had a double-double.

“We shot well today (10-23 from three-point range), and they were good threes. They came off balls that went inside the paint and right back to the shooters. A lot of the credit for that has to go to the pass back outside. I thought those were spot-on. All our guards had to do was catch and shoot.”

Hargrove led the Tigers with career-highs of 15 points and six assists. Williamson tallied 14 points and nine rebounds to go along with three blocked shots. George added ten points, while Wetzel added eight points.

Pittman led all scorers with 24 points, while Richardson, who was harassed by Williamson in the paint was held to just ten points.

Hampden-Sydney was 30-55 from the floor (54.5 percent), 10-23 (42.5 percent) from three-point range and 6-8 (75 percent) at the line. Guilford was 17-49 (34.7 percent) from the floor, 6-21 (26.1 percent) from three and 12-17 (70.6 percent) from the foul line.

The Tigers out-rebounded Guilford 33-27, collected 21 assists on their 30 made baskets and turned the ball over just seven times (Guilford committed just 10).

The loss at Guilford earlier in the month knocked the Tigers from first place, but Washington & Lee's upset of Virginia Wesleyan helped put H-SC back in a tie at the top with the Marlins.

“I like where we are,” said Vick. “We're putting in some new plays and working on giving some new looks on defense. We're not there, yet, and we definitely need to improve in some areas, but I do like where we are. One of the things we stress is to get better every day, and so far, we've been able to do that.”

Hampden-Sydney will host Lynchburg College on Wednesday night at 7 p.m.