Strong second half sparks win for Hampden-Sydney Tigers

Published 6:58 pm Saturday, January 20, 2024

For the first half, the teams went back and forth. Coming out of halftime, Shenandoah University even scored the first 13 points to take the lead. But then Ryan Clements and Adam Brazil took control, sparking a 21-5 run that helped Hampden-Sydney take control and not look back. On the road in Winchester, the No. 1 ranked Tigers picked up the 69-52 Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) win. 

“Great composure from the guys today,” Tigers Head Coach Caleb Kimbrough said. “We showed a lot of heart and a lot of toughness, stayed focused and made adjustments. We didn’t get too high or too low when things didn’t go our way. Gritty road win! Let’s go!”

Breaking down the game 

Hampden-Sydney led early at 8-4 with 13:17 on the first-half clock after points from Clements, senior team captain Josiah Hardy, Chase Turner and freshman Blake Wilson. SU rallied back with a 7-2 run to lead 11-10 at 11:56, but junior Ayman McGowan answered with a three-point field goal that started a quick 13-5 response that culminated with a three-pointer by Brazil to push the Tigers ahead 23-16 with 7:07 left in the opening half. The Hornets were within 27-23 at 5:21, but the Garnet & Grey outscored their hosts 7-4 to the horn to lead 34-27 at halftime. Hubbard had a slam dunk to get it started, while Brazil and Clements each made jumpers, before Hardy added a late free throw for the seven-point advantage.

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Shenandoah, however, scored the first 13 points of the second half to take a 40-34 lead with 14:09 remaining, getting five points from Davion Roberts and four points from Williams. Hampden-Sydney would respond accordingly … scoring 10 unanswered points to lead 44-40 at 9:51. The Hornets were within 47-45 with 8:33 left after two throws by Williams, but eight-straight points by the Tigers extended the outburst to 21-5 and a 55-45 advantage at 6:42. Turner scored four of the points, including a three-pointer from near the visitors’ bench.

SU made a final effort, trailing 55-49 with 5:46 on the clock, but Hampden-Sydney answered with a three-pointer from Hubbard and a drive to the basket by Turner, as the Garnet & Grey closed the contest on a 14-3 run that included a conventional three-point play by Clements and a three-pointer by Brazil, before senior Alex Elliott (Marietta, GA) made two free throws that provided for the final margin. Overall, the Tigers outscored the home team 35-12 over the final 13:46 for their road triumph and 11th consecutive victory.

Hampden-Sydney, by the numbers

Clements led Hampden-Sydney with his game-high 15 points, including 5-5 free throws, while adding four rebounds, two assists and two steals. Senior team captain Brazil finished with 14 points, adding also two assists, for the Tigers. Turner contributed his season-high 11 points, along with a game-high five steals to tie his career-high, and two assists, as well. 

Hubbard had his nine points and game-high 10 rebounds, Hardy added eight points and four rebounds, while McGowan finished with six points. Hampden-Sydney shot 48% (24-50) from the field, including 33% (6-18) on three-pointers, and 79% (15-19) at the free throw line. The Tigers enjoyed a 21-11 advantage in points from turnovers, forcing 17 miscues by SU, along with a 21-14 advantage in bench scoring and a 26-20 advantage in points scored in the paint.

Williams led SU with his 10 points, adding two rebounds, two assists and two steals. Roberts, Evan Makle and Nic Pullum each scored eight points for the Hornets. SU shot 37% (19-51) from the field, including just 18% (3-17) on three-pointers, and 69% (11-16) at the line.

Some things to know

With the win, Hampden-Sydney improves to 16-1 overall, 8-1 in the ODAC. This marks the Tigers’ best start to a season since 2002-03, when they went 22-0 en route to a 28-4 campaign. That year included an NCAA Tournament Final Four appearance. 

The Tigers will return home to host four-straight in S. Douglas Fleet Gymnasium at Kirby Field House, beginning with the University of Lynchburg on Wednesday, Jan. 24, at 7 p.m. The contest against the Hornets will be the program’s “Coaches vs. Cancer” game during “Suits And Sneakers Week” sponsored by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC). It’s also “WHITEOUT WEDNESDAY” as all fans are encouraged to wear white. As a reminder, all regular season games are free admission at Hampden-Sydney.