Game 15 W&L (9-5, 4-4 ODAC) at Eastern Mennonite (5-10, 1-8 ODAC)
Harrisonburg, Va. • January 24, 2007 7:00 pm
Game 16 W&L (9-5, 4-4 ODAC) vs. Roanoke (8-8, 4-5 ODAC)
Lexington, Va. • January 27, 2007 7:00 pm
LAST TIME OUT:
The Washington and Lee men’s basketball team connected on 56.0 percent of its shots from the floor en route to an 84-67 victory at Lynchburg on Sunday afternoon. W&L hit 60.0 percent (15-of-25) of its field goals in the first stanza and took a 42-31 lead into halftime. The Generals held a 53-43 advantage with 12:43 remaining in the contest and never let their lead slip below double-digits for the duration of the game. Washington and Lee shot 76.7 percent (23-of-30) from the foul line, compared to the Hornets, who hit just 8-of-13 free throws. The Generals also out-rebounded LC, 43-27. The Blue and White were led by junior forward Greg Bienemann, who tied his career-high with 33 points. Senior forward Alex White and sophomore guard Kirk Jones each tallied 10 markers, while senior guard Chris Halkitis added seven points, seven rebounds and seven assists. The Hornets were paced by freshman guard Steven Echols, who racked up 22 points and seven steals.
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 55-132 (.294) overall record. Hutchinson is assisted by Sean Grant (NYU '02) and Stuart Pradia (Brandeis '05).
W&L and Eastern Mennonite are meeting for the 71st time, with the Generals holding a 45-25 advantage in the all-time series. W&L has won each of the past two meetings, including an 81-77 win earlier this season at the Warner Center. W&L and Roanoke will be meeting for the 109th time, with the Maroons holding a 72-36 advantage in the all-time series. Roanoke has won each of the past two encounters between the schools, including a 68-64 victory earlier this season at the Bast Center.
LAST MEETING WITH EASTERN MENNONITE:
Washington and Lee used a 10-2 run to take a 30-20 lead with 5:13 left in the first half and never trailed again in defeating Eastern Mennonite, 81-77, at the Warner Center. W&L took a 40-31 lead into halftime and upped its advantage to as many as 12 points (72-60) with 3:31 remaining in the game. However, the Royals methodically chipped away at the lead, cutting it to just two points (72-70) with 29 seconds remaining in the game. With the Generals leading 80-75 and just seven seconds remaining, EMU junior guard Jered Lyons was fouled on a three-point attempt. Lyons made the first two foul shots and missed the third, but the Royals claimed the offensive rebound with five seconds remaining and called a timeout to set up a play for the potential tying three-pointer. However, sophomore guard LeRoger Parrish turned the ball over on the inbound pass and W&L senior guard Chris Halkitis hit 1-of-2 free throws with four seconds left to clinch the win. The two teams were called for 57 total fouls and combined to shoot 70 free throws in the contest. The Generals were led by junior forward Greg Bienemann, who tallied 25 points and six rebounds before fouling out with 3:34 remaining in the game. Halkitis totaled a season-high 18 points, four assists and three steals, while junior forward Femi Kusimo notched 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the floor. Eastern Mennonite was paced by senior forward Jason Sager, who posted 25 points and seven rebounds. Lyons recorded 21 points, while junior forward Brad Parkes chipped in 10 points and seven boards.
LAST MEETING WITH ROANOKE:
Roanoke’s Curtis Peery notched a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds as the Maroons edged out the Washington and Lee men’s basketball team, 68-64, at the Bast Center. The Generals led by as many as 10 points (29-19) with 4:08 to play in the first half, but the Maroons stormed back using a 14-2 run to take a 33-31 lead into the break. The second half was back-and-forth, but W&L assumed a five-point lead (53-48) with 4:53 to play in the contest. However, the Generals could never pull away and RC went up 60-56 with 1:30 to go and hit 8-of-12 of its free throw attempts down the stretch to secure the victory. Roanoke connected on 26-of-39 foul shots on the evening, compared to W&L, who shot just 8-of-17 from the charity stripe. The Generals were led by junior forward Greg Bienemann, who scored a team-high 14 points and added nine boards. Sophomore guard Chris McHugh notched a career-high 12 points, while sophomore forward Ben Heller tied a season-high with nine points. Peery paced the Maroons with his double-double, while Keith Carter registered 12 points and A.J. Dowell added nine markers.
SCOUTING EASTERN MENNONITE:
EMU is 5-10 overall and 1-8 in the ODAC following a 79-69 loss to Guilford on Sunday afternoon in Greensboro, N.C. The Royals led 34-28 at the break, but Guilford closed in on Royals' advantage, eventually taking the lead for good with just over six minutes remaining in the game. Sophomore guard LeRoger Parrish led the Royals with 16 points, while senior forward Jason Sager and junior forward Brad Parkes added 15 points each. For the season, Sager averages a team-best 18.4 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. He shoots 54.8 percent from the floor and averages nearly seven free throw attempts per game. Parkes shoots 61.3 percent from the field in averaging 17.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per contest, while junior guard Jered Lyons contributes 10.5 points per game and has his a team-high 28 three-pointers. The Royals shoot 49.8 percent from the floor and average 75.9 points per game, but they are giving up an average of 81.9 points per game.
The Maroons had a seven-game winning streak snapped over the weekend with a 65-62 loss to Hampden-Sydney on Sunday. Roanoke (8-8, 4-5 ODAC) will look to get back on track with a home game against Bridgewater on Wednesday, before traveling to W&L on Saturday. The Maroons shot just 30.3 percent in the first half against the Tigers in falling behind 34-21 at the break. RC stepped it up to 42.4 percent in the second stanza and outscored H-SC by 10 points in the final 20 minutes, but it was not enough to keep their win streak alive. RC hit just 4-of-26 from beyond the three-point arc, but were led by junior guard Keith Carter's 15 points on 3-of-5 shooting from three-point range. Junior forward Josh LaPorte totaled 13 points and junior guard A.J. Dowell added 10 points for the Maroons. For the year, Roanoke is led by sophomore center Curtis Peery's 12.8 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. LaPorte averages 10.0 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.8 steals per game, while Dowell gives RC 9.4 points per game.
STRONG START = STRONG FINISH:
Washington and Lee is 8-0 this season when it builds a halftime lead. Success in maintaining leads is nothing new as W&L has compiled a 42-23 (.646) record over the past nine years when it leads at the break. W&L has won a total of 57 games during that stretch, meaning that the Generals have led at halftime in nearly 74 percent of their wins in the last nine years.
There are a number of reasons for W&L's stellar 9-5 record to date, 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 191 of 2800 total minutes this year (6.8%). 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%).
Senior guard Chris Halkitis lays claim to 854 career points and is one of the top three-point shooters in school history, having made 149-of-416 (.358) triples for his career. His 149 three's rank second all-time at W&L, just 58 behind all-time leader Mike Holton '91. Halkitis is only averaging 6.7 points per game in 2006-07, but he leads the team with 41 assists and 15 steals. He is coming off a game against Lynchburg in which he totaled seven points, a season-high seven rebounds and a career-high seven assists.
BIENEMANN THE BETTER MAN:
Junior forward Greg Bienemann is having a tremendous season for W&L and is averaging 22.0 points, 6.7 rebounds, 0.5 blocks and 1.0 assists per game this season. Bienemann has scored in double figures in all 14 games this season and has eight games of 20 or more points, including a pair of 30+ point efforts. Bienemann is the reigning ODAC Player of the Week after averaging 26.7 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.3 steals per game in three games last week. In those games, he shot 61.4 percent (35-57) from the floor and 90.0 percent (9-10) from the free throw line. On Sunday, Bienemann tied a career-high with 33 points in an 84-67 victory over Lynchburg. The MVP of the W&L Basketball Tournament and the ODAC Player of the Week for the week ending November 26, Bienemann has scored 308 points this season and already claims 876 career points in just 62 games (14.1 ppg).
Bienemann hasn't done it all by himself in the post as junior forward Femi Kusimo joins him to form a dynamic duo in the paint. Kusimo is second on the team in scoring (11.0 ppg) and rebounding (5.7 rpg) and he is shooting 59.4 percent from the floor. Kusimo has seven double-digit scoring efforts this season and scored a career-high 21 points in an 81-74 victory over Bridgewater earlier this season.
Sophomore forward Kirk Jones may be the forgotten man in the Generals' starting lineup due to his simple (not flashy) game or simple name, but that doesn't mean his contribution is not felt by the team. Jones stepped up to make sure his name was heard in the win over Emory & Henry last Wednesday by tallying a season-high 14 points, a season-high six rebounds and he tied a career-high with six assists. Jones also hit the winning shot with 2.2 seconds remaining, the first General to win a game in the final seconds since Ian McClure did so against the Wasps in 2001. For the season, Jones is one of three players to have started all 14 games and he averages 6.3 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. His 32 assists are tied for second on the team and he has turned the ball over just 14 times.
Washington and Lee is currently 6-1 overall within the friendly confines of the Warner Center. The Generals have won five-straight home contests, with the lone loss coming to Averett (79-56) back on Nov. 18 in the championship game of the W&L Tip-off Tournament.
ON THE ROAD:
The Generals are 3-4 on the road in 2006-07 and snapped a 21-game road losing streak to ODAC opponents with an 81-74 victory over Bridgewater on Jan. 13. W&L has not won more than three road games in a season since the 1997-98 campaign when it went 5-7 on the road.
FOR THE RECORD:
W&L's 9-5 start to the 2006-07 season is its best since beginning the 1989-90 campaign with a 10-3 mark. Incidently, that season was also the last in which the Generals finished with a winning record (15-12, 8-8 ODAC). W&L's nine wins this season already surpass the last two seasons combined (4-19 in 05-06 and 2-23 in 04-05).
-- GENERALS --