Game 23 W&L (11-11, 6-10 ODAC) at #24 Guilford (19-3, 13-3 ODAC)
Greensboro, N.C. • February 14, 2007 7:00 pm
Game 24 W&L (11-11, 6-10 ODAC) vs. Bridgewater (8-15, 5-11 ODAC)
Lexington, Va. • February 17, 2007 7:00 pm
LAST TIME OUT:
The Washington and Lee men’s basketball team ended a six-game losing streak with a 74-56 win over Lynchburg College on Sunday evening at the Warner Center. The win improved W&L to 11-11 overall and 6-10 in the ODAC. The 11 victories are the most since the 1990-91 team went 12-14 overall. The Generals shot 55.6 percent (15-27) from the floor in the first half en route to claiming a 39-30 lead at the break. The Hornets closed to nine points (43-34) with 18:11 left in the game, but W&L pushed back to a double-digit advantage on the next possession and never led by less than 10 points the rest of the way. W&L, which shot 52.9 percent (27-51) for the game and held a 39-28 advantage on the boards, was led by senior guard Chris Halkitis’ 17 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the floor. Junior forward Greg Bienemann tallied 12 points, five rebounds and three assists, while junior forward Femi Kusimo and sophomore guard Chris McHugh each chipped in nine points. Lynchburg was paced by freshman guard Steven Echols, who totaled 11 points, three assists and three steals. Junior guard Evan Fancourt added 10 points.
W&L and Guilford are meeting for the 37th time, with the Quakers holding a 22-14 lead in the all-time series. The Quakers have taken the past two encounters, including a 62-61 victory on Jan. 31 at the Warner Center. The last three meetings have been decided by a total of eight points, with GC winning the last two games by just one point. W&L and Bridgewater will be meeting for the 113th time, with the Generals holding a 69-43 advantage in the all-time series. W&L snapped a 12-game losing streak to the Eagles with an 81-74 victory on Jan. 13 in Bridgewater, Va. A win would give W&L 70 all-time victories against the Eagles, tied for the most all-time against one opponent (Lynchburg - 70 wins).
LAST MEETING WITH GUILFORD:
Washington and Lee erased a 16-point second-half deficit to take a three-point lead (60-57) with just 46 seconds remaining, but could not hang on in falling to Guilford, 62-61, at the Warner Center. W&L had a chance to win the game with 0.3 seconds remaining as junior forward Greg Bienemann was fouled on a layup attempt. However, Bienemann missed both free throws and the Quakers escaped with the one-point victory. W&L shot just 25.9 percent (7-27) in the first half and trailed the Quakers 33-15 at the break. Guilford still held a 16-point lead (47-31) with 12:21 left in the game, but the Generals used a 16-2 run over the next 5:12 to cut it to a two-point game (49-47) with 7:09 left. Guilford held the lead until W&L tied it at 54-54 with 3:30 left on a three-pointer by sophomore forward Kirk Jones. A pair of free throws by Guilford junior center Ben Strong at the 3:17 mark gave the Quakers a 56-54 lead, but another Jones’ three-pointer just 27 seconds later gave W&L its first lead (57-56) since the score was 8-6. W&L pushed out to a 60-57 advantage with 46 seconds left on a layup by senior forward Alex White, but a layup by Strong cut it back to a one-point game (60-59) just three seconds later. A foul sent W&L sophomore guard Isaiah Goodman to the stripe with 31 seconds left and he made 1-of-2 charity tosses for a 61-59 lead. After a Guilford turnover, W&L sophomore guard Chris McHugh was fouled and went to the foul line for two shots with 26 seconds left. McHugh missed both free throws and Guilford junior forward Eric Belkowski drilled a three-pointer with 12 seconds left setting up the Generals’ final possession that ended with Bienemann’s missed free throws. W&L recovered from its cold first-half shooting to nail 54.5 percent (18-33) in the second half, but the Generals shot just 4-of-15 from the foul line, including 4-of-14 in the second half. Guilford shot just 8-for-21 (.381) in the second stanza, but hit 19-of-23 free throws for the game. The Generals were led by Jones’ 14 points and seven rebounds. Freshman forward Zac White totaled 11 points, while brother Alex White notched 10 points. Bienemann registered eight points and eight rebounds. Guilford was paced by Strong, who tallied 23 points and 12 rebounds. Belkowski posted 18 points and seven boards.
The 24th-ranked Quakers are 19-3 overall and 13-3 in the ODAC following an 84-75 win at Eastern Mennonite on Sunday afternoon. Guilford was led against the Royals by junior center Ben Strong, who posted 29 points and 16 rebounds. Senior guard Jordan Snipes notched 18 points, while senior guard Thomas Burge logged eight points and four assists. For the season, Strong leads the ODAC in scoring (24.0 ppg), rebounding (11.2 rpg) and blocks (2.6 bpg). He shoots 56.7 percent from the floor and 79.9 percent from the foul line. Snipes averages 18.0 points and 5.1 rebounds per contest, while junior forward Eric Belkowski contributes 8.1 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. As a team, the Quakers average 81.6 points per game and out-rebound their opponents by an average of 9.4 boards per game.
LAST MEETING WITH BRIDGEWATER:
The Washington and Lee men’s basketball team connected on 65.9 percent (27-of-41) of its shots from the field to end a 21-game ODAC road losing streak with an 81-74 victory over Bridgewater at Nininger Hall. The Generals, who had not won a conference game on the road since Feb. 14, 2004 (76-69 W at EMU), opened the game with an 11-point lead (15-4) in the first 8:32 of the game and never trailed for the duration of the contest, owning a 30-23 advantage at the break. The Eagles cut the lead to four points several times during the second half, but could not get any closer as W&L hit 9-of-12 from the foul line in the final 1:51 to preserve the win. The Blue and White was led by junior forward Greg Bienemann, who notched a game-high 26 points and a team-high six rebounds. Junior forward Femi Kusimo racked up a career-high 21 points on 9-of-10 shooting from the floor. Senior guard Chris Halkitis added eight points and five assists. Bridgewater was also led by a pair of 20-point performances. Junior forward Jay Strotman tallied 21 points, while junior forward Josh Fox scored 20 markers. Sophomore guard Robert Rice rounded out the BC double-digit scorers with 11 points.
The Eagles are 8-15 overall and 5-11 in the ODAC following a 106-96 victory over Emory & Henry on Sunday afternoon. The Eagles will host Roanoke on Wednesday, before traveling to the Warner Center for Saturday's contest. In the win over E&H, BC was paced by junior forward Josh Fox's 28 points and seven rebounds. Junior forward Jay Strotman tallied 24 points and six boards, while junior guard Andrew Cathlin posted 15 points and nine rebounds. Freshman guards Dominic Trawick (13 pts., 7 reb.) and D.J. Billups (12 pts.) both also posted double-digits for the Eagles. For the season, Bridgewater is led by Trawick, who averages 16.0 points per game. Fox averages 13.2 points and 5.3 boards per game, while sophomore forward Michael Oblitey contributes 10.1 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. Strotman adds 10.0 points and a team-best 2.0 assists per game.
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 57-137 (.294) overall record. Hutchinson is assisted by Sean Grant (NYU '02) and Stuart Pradia (Brandeis '05).
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.
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 325 of 4400 total minutes this year (8.1%). 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%).
Junior forward Greg Bienemann has been having a terrific season for the Generals, ranking second in the ODAC in scoring with an average of 18.3 points per game. Bienemann has eight games of 20+ points and two games of 30 or more points this season. He currently has 970 career points and can become the first W&L men's basketball player since Cam Dyer '96 to score 1,000 career points with 30 more markers.
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 317 assists (14.4 apg) to just 357 turnovers (16.2 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 48.6 percent from the floor and has shot better than 50 percent from the field in six of the last 12 games. 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 70.5 points per game this season still rank next to last in the conference, but it is 4.4 points per game better than last year.
• DEFENSE - W&L ranks third in the ODAC in scoring defense, allowing just 68.5 points per game. This total is 7.1 points per game less than the team allowed last season.
• REBOUNDING - W&L holds a +2.0 rebounding margin and is 9-3 this season when out-rebounding an opponent.
• ROAD WINS - W&L is 4-5 on the road this season after posting a 0-21 mark on the road over the previous two seasons. The Generals have not won five road games in a season since the 1997-98 season.
• 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.
-- GENERALS --