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Game 1 • W&L (0-0) vs. Manhattanville (0-0)
November 18, 2005 • 8:00 pm

Game 2 • W&L (0-0) vs. Mary Washington (0-0) or Southwestern (0-0)
November 19, 2005 • 6:00/8:00 pm

W&L has never met Manhattanville and Southwestern, and carries an 8-7 series lead against Mary Washington. The Generals last met UMW during the 2002-03 season, falling to the Eagles 67-50 in Fredericksburg, Va. W&L defeated Mary Washington in the prior meeting (61-53) during the 2001-02 campaign.

Adam Hutchinson (Amherst '93) is in his third season as the head coach at Washington and Lee, posting a 9-41 (.180) record with the Generals. Prior to his arrival at W&L, Hutchinson coached for two seasons at Case Western Reserve University and two seasons at Stevens Tech. In his six seasons as a head coach, Hutchinson claims a 43-106 (.289) overall record. Hutchinson is assisted by Ryan Kadlubowski (Rochester '03) and Curtis Buxton.

The Valiants return all five starters from last season's team which went 16-12 overall. Junior guard John DiBetta leads the way after averaging 13.9 points and 4.8 rebounds per game in 2004-05. Senior forward Mike Benzinger averaged 13.0 points and 3.4 boards per contest and was joined in double figures by sophomore guard Donte Chisolm (11.3 ppg., 6.3 apg., 4.6 rpg.) and sophomore guard Rich Riss (10.2 ppg., 2.9 rpg.). Sophomore guard Brian Fink also returns after starting 16 games a season ago. He averaged 8.8 points per game and shot 47.0 percent (39-83) from three-point range last season.

Southwestern returns five senior starters from last season's team which completed the year at 20-7 overall and 11-3 in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference. The Pirates are among the teams receiving votes in the Preseason Top 25 poll. Senior guard Aaron Bowser led the team in scoring last year, averaging 14.9 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. Senior forward Robert Cates notched 13.7 points and 5.7 rebounds per outing, while senior guard Jamonn Little averaged 10.0 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. Senior forward Dan Slezak (5.6 ppg., 4.0 rpg.) and senior guard Ty Ragland (3.1 ppg., 3.6 apg.) also return after starting last season.

Mary Washington is also receiving votes in the Preseason Top 25 poll. The Eagles also return all five starters from a team that posted a 17-9 overall record a season ago. The Eagles are led by junior Preseason All-America guard Mike Lee, who averaged 20.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.7 steals per game in 2004-05. He scored a school-record 40 points in one contest last year, and also hit a school-record 100 three-pointers. Junior guard A.J. Fitzgerald averaged 11.4 points and 4.2 assists per game, while sophomore forward Jon Pierce contributed 10.4 points and 4.8 rebounds per game, and shot 40.7 percent (33-81) from three-point range.

Guilford closed out the first half on a 13-3 run to take a 49-31 halftime lead en route to an 89-71 win over Washington and Lee in Greensboro, N.C. back on Feb. 15. The Quakers led 24-19 with 8:54 remaining in the first half and then used an 8-0 run to extend to a 32-19 advantage. The Generals pulled to within eight points at 36-28 with 3:30 left, but then Guilford went on the aforementioned 13-3 spurt to head into halftime with an 18-point advantage. The Quakers would maintain their double-digit lead for the remainder of the game. W&L was 24-for-56 (.429) from the field and 19-for-24 (.792) from the free throw line, but committed 23 turnovers. Guilford shot 37-for-75 (.493) from the floor and 9-for-12 (.750) from the charity stripe. The Generals were led by forward Greg Bienemann, who scored a team-high 16 points and grabbed five rebounds. Guard Chris Halkitis tallied 14 points and a team-high four assists, while guard Chris Davis notched a career-high 10 points. Center Mason Herman pulled down a career-high 11 rebounds.

W&L's last tournament outing was in the W&L Tournament held on Jan. 2-3. The Generals claimed the championship by defeating Piedmont (79-65) in the opening round and Washington College (79-74) in the championship game. Guard Chris Halkitis was named the tournament MVP after tallying 27 points in the championship game victory. Forward Femi Kusimo was also named to the all-tournament team after posting 12 points and nine rebounds in the win over Washington. Forward Greg Bienemann led the Generals to victory in the tournament-opener, notching 27 points against Piedmont.

Washington and Lee will be playing in its 19th season-opening tournament since the 1970-71 season. The Generals are 13-23 (.361) in those contests and have won three tournament championships (1987, 1988, 2002 W&L Tip-off Tournaments). The Generals also claimed the championship of the 2005 Washington and Lee Tournament held last January.

A quick start has been imperative to the Generals winning games. Over the past seven years, W&L is 31-19 (.620) when leading at the half. During that same stretch, W&L has won a total of 44 games, meaning that W&L has led at the break in over 70 percent of its wins during the last seven years.

People love to see offense, but defense does win games as evidenced by W&L's record in low scoring contests. During the last eight seasons, W&L is 32-16 (.667) when allowing opponents 59 points or less.

Washington and Lee welcomes back seven letterwinners and three starters from last season’s 2-23 squad. Leading the group is junior guard Chris Halkitis, who averaged 10.7 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game. An Honorable Mention All-ODAC selection following his freshman campaign, Halkitis claims 545 points and 98 three-point field goals in just two seasons. Also returning are sophomore forwards Greg Bienemann and Femi Kusimo. Bienemann averaged a team-best 11.6 points and 4.4 rebounds last season, while Kusimo averaged 10.2 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game and shot a team-best 58.5 percent (103-176) from the floor. Junior forward Alex White also returns after suffering a season-ending leg injury just three games into last season. White was shooting 50.0 percent (8-16) from the floor and was averaging 7.0 points and 3.7 rebounds per game before being lost. Junior guard Chris Davis (3.3 ppg.), sophomore guard John Mumper (5.2 ppg.) and sophomore center Mason Herman (1.3 ppg.) also return.

The Generals have added seven freshmen to the roster this season. The list includes four guards (Isaiah Goodman, Brett Ittersagen, Chris McHugh, Craig Sauers) and three forwards (Ben Heller, Kirk Jones, Ryan Owens). Goodman earned Honorable Mention All-State honors in Minnesota, Ittersagen was all-area in Florida, McHugh was a first team all-conference choice and Sauers was an all-county selection in Maryland. Heller was a three-year letterwinner in Texas, Jones captained a Germantown Academy (Pa.) team that finished third in the state championships, while Owens was a first team all-league pick in New York.

W&L features 14 players on the 2005-06 roster. This list includes no seniors, three juniors, four sophomores and seven freshmen. The 14 players come from 10 different states and have an average height of 6-3 and an average weight of 196 pounds.


Contact: Brian Laubscher
Sports Information Director
PO Drawer 928
Lexington, VA 24450
Phone: 540-463-8670