W&L Men's Basketball Notes - Week 1

Week 1

WASHINGTON AND LEE (0-0) vs. GREENSBORO (0-0) • 11/15/09 • 2:00 PM




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W&L vs. Greensboro: W&L leads 8-4
Current Streak: +1, W&L
Last Meeting: W&L 56, Greensboro 53

W&L vs. Case: Case leads 1-0
Current Streak: +1, Case
Last Meeting: Case 83, W&L 77

W&L vs. Thomas More: W&L leads 1-0
Current Streak: +1, W&L
Last Meeting: W&L 77, Thomas More 54

W&L vs. Otterbein: First Meeting

Last time out • Virginia Wesleyan 66, W&L 62 • 3/1/09 (ODAC CHampionship)
Washington and Lee battled back from a 16-point first-half deficit to pull within one point in the final minute, but could not take the lead as Virginia Wesleyan pulled out a 66-62 victory in the championship game of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference Tournament. The Generals trailed by 13 points (40-27) at the break, but began the second stanza with a 15-6 run to make it a 46-42 game with 12:14 remaining. The Marlins pulled back out to a 51-42 lead with 10:04 left, but W&L closed it to a one-point game (53-52) with 7:09 remaining. The Generals remained within striking distance the rest of the way, cutting it to a one-point game twice in the final minute, but W&L shot just 3-for-8 from the free throw line in the final 1:40. The Generals had one last shot to tie the game with three seconds remaining, but forward Ben Goetsch’s layup would not fall and the Marlins held on for the victory.  W&L was led by Goetsch, who tied a career-high with 19 points and grabbed five rebounds. Senior guard Isaiah Goodman tallied 11 points, while senior forward Ben Heller totaled eight points and tied a career-high with 12 rebounds. Both Goetsch and Goodman were named to the all-tournament team.

Washington and Lee is facing Greensboro for the first time since the 2001-02 season, when the Generals took a 56-53 decision from the Pride. Greensboro was picked to finish fifth in the USA South in the preseason coaches poll. The Pride return three starters from last season’s team that started with a 6-5 record, before going 3-11 down the stretch to finish at 9-16. Headlining the returnees is junior guard Adam Powell. Powell finished second on the team in scoring last season with 11.1 points per game, while adding 3.4 rebounds per contest. Also returning are senior guard R.J. Smith and junior guard/forward Walter Brady. Brady started 17 contests a year ago and posted averages of 8.0 points a team-high 8.2 rebounds per game. Smith averaged 7.8 points per contest and was Greensboro’s most accurate shooter from deep, as he posted a 37.5 percent (15-40) mark from beyond the arc in 21 games. As a team last season, the Pride were outscored by an average of 4.1 points per game and shot just 41.3 percent from the floor.

The Generals will be facing Case Western Reserve University for the first time since 1978, when the Spartans won 83-77 in Lexington. Case was selected to finish sixth in the University Athletic Association’s (UAA) preseason poll. A team that won more UAA games than any other Spartans team since 1999, Case finished last season with an overall record of 8-17, a 5-9 conference mark and returns five of its top seven scorers and three leading rebounders.  Among the key returnees are senior guard Brian Erce, junior forward Eric Duerr, and junior guard Reid Anderson. A year ago, Erce posted a field goal percentage of 45.5 percent (61-134), an assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.3, while scoring 8.4 points per game.  Duerr finished second in the UAA in blocks (37) and offensive rebounds (55). Anderson, a 6-foot-6 swingman, led the Spartans with 14.3 points per game last year.  Anderson also finished in the top-10 in the conference and was among the team leaders in three-point field goal percentage (.387, 46-119 ), free throw percentage (.747, 71-95) and three-pointers made (46).

Should W&L square off against Otterbein, it would be for the first time. The Cardinals finished last season with an overall record of 5-20, but graduated just one senior. Among those returning for the 2009-10 campaign are seniors Brian Pollock and Cory Ratai, junior Ian Gardner and sophomore Brice Rausch. Pollock, a 6-foot-2 guard, was a Second Team All-Ohio Athleteic Conference selection last season after leading the league in scoring with 20.1 points per game. He also chipped in 5.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game, while hitting on 39.5 percent (73-185) of his three-point attempts. Ratai, a 6-foot-5 forward, returns after posting averages of 10.2 points and a team-high 7.1 rebounds per game last season. Rausch and Gardner both return to the Cardinal backcourt after averaging 10.4 and 10.3 points per game, respectively.

Thomas More and Washington and Lee have met just once before, with the Generals capturing a 77-54 victory over the Saints on Dec. 30, 2007 in Lexington, Va. Thomas More is coming off a highly-successful 2008-09 campaign. The Saints finished 19-9 last and won the Presidents’ Athletic Conference and are picked to repeat as champions this year. They return senior power forward Daniel McKeehan, who was the team’s leading scorer a year ago with 12.1 points per game. He also chipped in 4.6 rebounds per game and knocked down 61.5 percent (120-195) of his shots from the floor. Also returning for Thomas More is senior point guard Romell Salone, who was the third-leading scorer on last season’s team and led the Saints with 59 assists (2.3/g) and was second with 40 steals (1.5/g).

LAST TIME VS THOMAS MORE (Dec. 30, 2007 - W&L 77, Thomas More 54)
The Generals downed Thomas More in the opener of the W&L Tournament by a score of 77-54. The Generals used a balanced scoring effort and jumped out to a 19-7 lead in the opening 8:59 en route to the 23-point win. Forward Zac White paced four Generals in double figures as he tied a then-career-high with 17 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the floor. Senior forward Greg Bienemann tallied a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds, while guard Chris McHugh totaled 14 points. Senior forward Femi Kusimo added 11 points and guard Isaiah Goodman chipped in nine points and five boards. Thomas More was led by guard Matty Owens’ nine points and five rebounds. Forward Matt Tierney contributed eight points and five boards as well.

Under current Head Coach Adam Hutchinson, the Generals have posted a 2-4 record in season-opening games. They have won two of their last three, including a 66-57 victory over Muskingum in last season’s opener. Since the 1949-50 season, W&L has posted an even 30-30 record in season-opening games. Of those 30 seasons in which the Generals won their first game of the year, 17 times they went on to post a winning record, including last season’s 16-13 finish.


W&L is 32-6 in its last 38 games when leading at the break and has compiled a 66-28 (.702) record over the past 11 years when it leads at the break. W&L has won a total of 89 games during that stretch, meaning that the Generals have led at halftime in nearly 75 percent of their wins during the last 11 years.

Proving that basketball is truly a team game, W&L sported a decidedly better record last season in games where it distributed the ball well. The Generals held a 12-4 record in games where they had more assists then their opponent and they recorded 311 assists on the season (10.7 apg). Of those 311 assists, however, only 97 return, with junior guard Jason Cimino leading the way among the returnees with 34 helpers a season ago.

Prior to last season, the Generals had not defeated an opponent ranked in the Top 25 since a 44-42 win over No. 5 Hampden-Sydney in 1997. However, W&L bucked the trend last season and knocked off a pair of them. Then-junior Zac White hit a jump shot in the waning seconds to propel the Generals to a 68-66 win over No. 18 Roanoke on Jan. 17, W&L then outlasted No. 19 Guilford, 82-76 in double overtime, in the quarterfinal round of the ODAC Tournament. W&L will have a chance to knock off a few more ranked opponents this season as Guilford (No. 2) and Randolph-Macon (No. 19) are both ranked this preseason and Virginia Wesleyan and Catholic are both receiving votes in the poll.

On his way to Honorable Mention All-ODAC honors last season, senior forward Zac White proved that as he went, so did the Generals. Through 16 games last year, White was averaging a team-high 11.7 points per game having scored in double digits on nine occasions. More importantly, W&L was 12-4 and receiving votes in the D3hoops.com Top 25. He was also sporting a 49.2 percent (63-128) mark from the field, including 48.0 percent mark (24-50) from beyond the arc. However, over the team’s final 13 games, White saw his scoring average dip to just 6.5 points on 28.2 percent (20-71) shooting, including a 13.7 percent mark (4-29) from distance. W&L’s record over its final 13 games -- 4-9.

Senior forward Ben Goetsch had a breakout season in 2008-09 and established himself as one of W&L’s most productive and efficient players, posting averages of 9.7 points and 4.4 rebounds per game, while shooting a team-high 51.9 percent (109-210) from the floor. The 51.9 percent shooting from the floor is significant as he shot just 41.9 percent (39-93) from the floor over his first two seasons combined. The 10 percent rise in shooting percentage could be due to the fact that he stopped shooting three-pointers at such a high rate. Over his first two seasons, 54.8 percent (51-93) of his shot attempts were three-pointers, compared to just 14.2 percent last season (30-210).

Last season’s starting lineup on opening day featured a combined 284 games played among the five starters. This season’s opening day starting lineup figures to have just two players who have started at W&L before and only 176 games played between them. Of those 176 games, it should be noted, senior forwards Ben Goetsch and Zac White have combined for 141 of them.