H-SC Tigers Rally For 79-68 Win

Published 11:52 am Tuesday, February 11, 2014

HAMPDEN-SYDNEY — Hampden-Sydney basketball held off a furious late second half rally from the visiting Royals of Eastern Mennonite University to earn a vital win at home, 79-68. The win secures the season series sweep of EMU and gives the Tigers the tiebreaker over EMU should they finish with the same record in ODAC play.

The Tigers got the game off to a great start behind stifling defense. After a James Williams layup at 19:14 to tie the game at 2-2, the Royals did not make another field goal until 8:05 left in the half. In the meantime, EMU made just three free throws and was held scoreless for over six minutes, allowing the Tigers to jump out to a 17-5 lead before a Ryan Yates three points at 8:05 ended the drought.

Yates went on to score three more points and the Tigers lead was down to eight, 19-11, at 6:33. The two teams played evenly for the remainder of the half, but a Mike Murray (Norfolk/Norfolk Christian) step-back three pointer from the top of the key with only a few seconds left put Hampden-Sydney on top 34-22 with momentum going into halftime.

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The Tiers gradually built up a 20-point lead, 59-39, with nine minutes remaining in the game. The advantage remained 19, 63-44, with 7:48 left on the clock, but seven straight Eastern Mennonite points saw the lead shrink to 63-50 with five minutes to go, forcing a Tigers timeout. Alex Smith (Whitsett, NC/T. Wingate Andrews) drained a big jumper out of the timeout, but six straight points from RJ Sims followed by three from David Falk found the Tigers in a tight contest at 65-59 with three minutes left.

The two squads traded point-for-point and a Falk free throw with one minute remaining found the Tigers ahead just 70-65. From there, the Tigers sealed the win at the free throw line, going 7-9 at the line with a JaVonte Reddick (Richmond/L.C. Bird) layup mixed in.

Reddick and Alex Smith had career games on the afternoon. Reddick poured in a career-high 20 points in 18 minutes along with five rebounds. He shot 5-10 overall and made nine of 10 free throws. Alex Smith added on a career-high 12 points to go with four boards, but most important was his lock down defense on EMU's leading scorer Marcel Crump. Crump scored a season-low three points, just his third game of the season with less than 10 points, and shot a season worst 1-7 from the field. Murray scored 13 points and tacked on six rebounds, four assists, and three steals. Sasha Obradovic (Belgrade, Serbia/Hawaii Prep) added 11 points and six caroms off the bench.

Falk posted a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds but he shot just 5-10 from the charity stripe. RJ Sims contributed a team-high 18 points along with six rebounds. Ryan Yates came off the bench to chip in 14 points and six boards.

Eastern Mennonite was cold from the floor and the free throw line as they shot 39 percent overall, just 6-23 from three, and went 16-29 at the charity stripe. The Tigers, on the other hand, converted on 44 percent of their field goal attempts, went 5-14 from beyond the arc, and was clutch at the free throw line with an 18-24 performance. The Tigers outrebounded the Royals 46-37.

Hampden-Sydney looks to stay in the win column this Wednesday as they travel to Virginia Wesleyan College for a 7 p.m. game.