ODAC TOURNAMENT QUARTERFINALS
Game 25 #8 W&L (11-13) vs. #1 Virginia Wesleyan (22-3)
Salem, Va . • February 22, 2007 1:00 pm
THE HEAD GENERAL:
Adam Hutchinson (Amherst '93) is in his fourth season as the head coach at Washington and Lee. Prior to W&L, Hutchinson coached for two seasons at Case Western Reserve University and two seasons at Stevens Tech. In his eight seasons as a head coach, Hutchinson claims a 57-139 (.291) overall record. Hutchinson is assisted by Sean Grant (NYU '02) and Stuart Pradia (Brandeis '05).
W&L and Virginia Wesleyan will be meeting for the 41st time, with the Marlins holding a 30-10 advantage in the all-time series and have won 11-straight contests dating back to the 2001-02 season. VWC won both meetings this season, winning 74-50 on Dec. 3 in Norfolk, Va., and 61-49 on Feb. 4 in Lexington, Va.
LAST MEETINGS WITH VIRGINIA WESLEYAN:
Senior forward Brandon Adair totaled 29 points on 13-of-17 shooting from the field to lead Virginia Wesleyan to a 61-49 victory over W&L. Virginia Wesleyan used an 11-1 first-half run to pull away for the win. Freshman forward Zac White led the Generals with a career-high 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the floor. Junior forward Greg Bienemann added 14 points and nine rebounds. Adair was joined in double figures for VWC by junior forward Tyler Fantin and junior guard Ton Ton Belenga, who posted 10 points each. In the earlier meeting, the Marlins out-rebounded W&L, 43-17, en route to a 74-50 win. The Generals led 22-15 midway through the first half, but scored only one field goal the rest of the half and never recovered. W&L was led by Bienemann, who tallied a team-high 19 points and four rebounds. VWC was paced by senior forward Rodney Young, who shot 7-of-9 from the floor, scoring 19 points. Adair shot 7-of-8 from the field in scoring 15 points.
SCOUTING VIRGINIA WESLEYAN:
Virginia Wesleyan (22-3 overall, 17-1 in the ODAC) is ranked second in the latest D3Hoops.com Division III poll. The 2006 NCAA Division III Champions, VWC has not lost since dropping a 124-101 decision at Emory & Henry on Jan. 27. The Marlins are coming off a 90-73 victory over Lynchburg on Saturday afternoon in Norfolk, Va. VWC shot 53.5 percent from the field and was led by senior All-America forward Brandon Adair, who tallied 22 points and nine rebounds. Sophomore guard Terrell Dixon posted 13 points, while junior guard Ton Ton Balenga and senior forward Rodney Young notched 12 and 10 points, respectively. For the season, Adair leads the team in scoring (18.0 ppg), rebounding (7.8 rpg) and shoots an ODAC-best 67.9 percent from the floor. Balenga contributes 15.4 points and 4.7 rebounds per game, while junior forward Tyler Fantin averages 9.3 points and 7.1 boards per contest.
LAST TIME OUT:
Bridgewater junior guard Andrew Cathlin scored on a break-away layup as time expired to lift the Eagles to a 48-46 win over Washington and Lee in ODAC men’s basketball action on Saturday evening at the Warner Center. BC freshman guard D.J. Billups tied the game at 46-46 with 25 seconds remaining as he hit the front end of a one-and-one. Billups missed the second free throw, which the Generals rebounded and called a time out to set up a play for the win. Following the timeout, sophomore guard Chris McHugh drove the lane, but could not find the hoop with his shot. Junior forward Greg Bienemann rebounded the miss, but the ball was poked away and into Billups’ hands, who led Cathlin for the winning layup. The game featured six ties and 10 lead changes and neither team led by more than seven points at any time during the contest. The Eagles carried a 21-19 lead into halftime, but the Generals took the lead for much of the second half and stretched to a 36-31 advantage with 7:05 remaining. However, the Generals could not pull away and Bridgewater assumed a 38-36 lead with 4:45 left in the game. Neither team would lead by more than two points the rest of the way. W&L was paced by Bienemann, who tallied 18 points and 10 rebounds and is now just two points away from 1,000 for his career. Junior forward Femi Kusimo added six points and six rebounds.
LAST ODAC TOURNAMENT CONTEST:
Randolph-Macon assumed a sizeable lead early and held on for a 71-53 win over W&L in the quarterfinal round of the 2003 ODAC men’s basketball tournament at the Salem Civic Center. The top-seeded Yellow Jackets scored the first five points of the game before guard Mike Stuart connected from behind the arc with 14:49 left to get the Generals on the board. R-MC then scored the next 17 points and carried a 31-12 advantage into the locker room at halftime. The Yellow Jackets forced 17 Generals’ turnovers and held them to 37.2 percent shooting for the afternoon (16-of-43), while committing just 10 giveaways and displaying 48.2 percent marksmanship (27-of-56) themselves. Forwards Jared Mills (12 points) and Kurt Bergmann (12 points) and guard Ryan Sloper (10 points) were the leading scorers for the Yellow Jackets. Guard Ian McClure scored a game-high 14 points to lead the Generals. His 4-for-11 shooting from three-point range gave him 63 three’s for the season, tying the W&L single-season standard set by Bryan Watkins during the 1991-92 season. Guard Ryan Flynn was the only other W&L player to reach double figures, finishing with 12 points.
LAST ODAC TOURNAMENT MEETING WITH VIRGINIA WESLEYAN:
Fifth-seeded Virginia Wesleyan shot 59.1 percent from the field and drilled 25-of-39 free throws to post an 82-71 victory over fourth-seeded Washington and Lee in the first round of the 1990-91 ODAC Tournament held at the Warner Center. Steve Weddle led the Marlins with 17 points, while Trevor Williams and Rick Chalk added 16 points each. W&L was paced by Ed Hart, who tallied 21 points and 12 rebounds. Craig Hatfield chipped in 17 points and nine boards.
There are a number of reasons for W&L's seven-game improvement from last season, but one that is hard to overlook is experience. Of the players averaging 12.0 minutes or more per game, there are two seniors (Halkitis, White), two juniors (Bienemann, Kusimo) and three sophomores (Goodman, Jones, McHugh). The big difference is among the five freshmen, which W&L has had to rely on for just 352 of 4800 total minutes this year (7.3%). To put this into perspective, consider that W&L's seven freshmen last season played 1819 of 4675 minutes (39%) and the seven freshman in 2004-05 played 2579 of 5000 minutes (52%).
STRONG START = STRONG FINISH:
Washington and Lee is 10-0 this season when it builds a halftime lead. Success in maintaining leads is nothing new as W&L has compiled a 44-23 (.657) record over the past nine years when it leads at the break. W&L has won a total of 59 games during that stretch, meaning that the Generals have led at halftime in nearly 75 percent of their wins in the last nine years.
W&L is making its first appearance in the ODAC Men's Basketball Tournament since playing Randolph-Macon in the opening round of the 2003 tournament. In fact, no player or coach on the Generals roster has actually experienced the ODAC's version of the Big Dance since coming to Washington and Lee.
TEN REASONS WHY W&L HAS POSTED DOUBLE-DIGIT WINS:
W&L's 11 wins this season mark the first double-digit-win season since the 1997-98 campaign. Below are just 10 of the many reasons for the turnaround in the program this season, in no particular order.
• EXPERIENCE - As noted above, the Generals have some experience this season. In addition to not having to play freshman, W&L boasts three seniors, its most since having three for the 1999-2000 season. That year, W&L won nine games and made it to the semifinals of the ODAC Tournament.
• LEADERSHIP - Seniors Chris Halkitis, Alex White and Chris Davis have the most experience on the team and they have have provided excellent leadership for the rest of the team. Both Halkitis and White are two-year captains and are at the forefront of the program's turnaround.
• DEPTH - The Generals currently have 16 healthy players on the roster and 11 of them have seen action in 10 games or more.
• BALL-HANDLING - W&L ranks fourth in the ODAC in turnover margin and has 344 assists (14.3 apg) to just 386 turnovers (16.1 topg). Last season, W&L had 284 assists and 450 turnovers for the year. Currently, three starters (Chris Halkitis, Chris McHugh, Kirk Jones) have a positive assist-to-turnover ratio and a fourth player, Alex White, brings a positive ratio off the bench.
• SHOOTING - W&L is currently shooting 47.7 percent from the floor for the season. The Generals have not shot better than 48 percent from the floor for an entire season since the 1984 season (51.5 %).
• SCORING - Over the past 10 seasons, W&L has consistently ranked among the worst scoring teams in the ODAC. W&L's 69.8 points per game this season still rank last in the conference, but it is 3.7 points per game better than last year.
• DEFENSE - W&L ranks third in the ODAC in scoring defense, allowing just 68.8 points per game. This total is 6.8 points per game less than the team allowed last season.
• REBOUNDING - W&L holds a +2.0 rebounding margin and is 9-4 this season when out-rebounding an opponent.
• ROAD WINS - W&L is 4-6 on the road this season after posting a 0-21 mark on the road over the previous two seasons.
• CHEMISTRY - While chemistry is not a tangible item, all of the above numbers can be used to support the fact that the Generals have become a team.
W&L IN THE ODAC TOURNAMENT:
W&L has played 35 ODAC Tournament games over the years, is 16-19 (.457) all-time in those games and is 0-1 against Virginia Wesleyan. W&L has emerged as the ODAC Champion three times, with the last title occurring on Feb. 23, 1980 at Hampden-Sydney (58-56). Below is a breakdown of the Generals vs. the members of the ODAC in the tournament:
RC (1-5) VWC (0-1)
Junior forward Greg Bienemann has been having a terrific season for the Generals, ranking fourth in the ODAC in scoring with an average of 17.9 points per game. Bienemann has eight games of 20+ points and two games of 30 or more points this season. He currently has 998 career points and can become the first W&L men's basketball player since Cam Dyer '96 to score 1,000 career points with his next basket. The Generals' leading scorer in each of his three seasons (11.6 ppg as a freshman, 12.1 ppg as a sophomore and 17.9 ppg this season), Bienemann has averaged 13.9 points per game over 72 career games.
Senior guard Chris Halkitis began his career at W&L as a scoring point guard, but with improved talent around him, he has morphed into one of the top distribution artists in the ODAC. During his first three seasons, the 5-foot-10 guard averaged 10.4 points, 2.4 assists and 9.3 shots per game. This season, Halkitis is averaging just 6.8 points on only 4.9 shots per game. However, his assist totals have shot up to 3.4 assists per game and he has the best assist-to-turnover ratio (1.5-1.0) of his career. Halkitis also averages 3.4 rebounds per game and he leads the team in steals (27). Halkitis, who claims 923 career points, ranks second all-time at W&L with 166 career three-pointers (166-451, .368).
-- GENERALS --