Washington and Lee (10-6, 2-5) at No. 3 Randolph-Macon (15-2,
6-2) - Wednesday, 7:00 pm
Washington and Lee at Randolph (9-9, 3-6) - Saturday; 1:30 pm
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The Head General
Adam Hutchinson (Amherst ‘93) is in his seventh season as the head coach at Washington and Lee. Hutchinson has led W&L to a 65-104 (.383) record, including back-to-back-to-back seasons with double-digit wins for the first time since 1988-1991, as well as back-to-back winning campaigns for the the first time since 1988-90. Hutchinson was honored as the 2008 ODAC Coach of the Year after leading the Generals to a 15-11 record. Last season, Hutchinson led W&L to a 16-13 mark and the Generals advanced to the title game of the ODAC Tournament for the first time since 1989. In his 12 seasons as a head coach, Hutchinson is 98-171 (.363) overall.
Last time out • Hampden-Sydney 73, W&L 66
Hampden-Sydney first-year guard Harrison George scored a game-high 24 points to lead the Tigers to a 73-66 victory over Washington and Lee on Saturday afternoon at Fleet Gymnasium. The Generals shot 50.0 percent (23-46) from the floor, but could not overcome 21 turnovers and 21-of-32 shooting from the foul line by H-SC. The Tigers led 34-29 at halftime and pushed their advantage to as many as 18 points (57-39) with 10:34 remaining in the game. W&L then went on a 21-5 run to cut it to a two-point game (62-60) with 3:35 left but could get no closer as the Tigers pulled away for the seven-point win. Senior forward Zac White led W&L with 15 points and five rebounds, while senior forward Ben Goetsch totaled 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field. Senior forward Andrew Payne chipped in nine points. George also grabbed seven rebounds and was joined in double figures by senior forward Turner King, who notched 11 points.
R-MC and W&L are squaring off for the 64th time, with the Yellow Jackets boasting a 60-13 advantage in the all-time series. Washington and Lee has defeated Randolph-Macon just once since 1977, a 77-75 overtime win in 2008 and will be seeking its first win in Ashland since the 1958-59 season when W&L defeated R-MC, 62-56. The Yellow Jackets enter the week with a gaudy record of 16-2 (5-2 ODAC) and are currently ranked No. 3 in the latest D3hoops.com Top 25. RMC has gone just 2-2 in its last four games after opening the season 13-0, but is coming off a 54-48 win over Randolph on Saturday. Junior guard Eric Pugh scored a game-high 15 points, including a 7-fo-8 showing from the charity stripe over the game’s final 1:13 to help the Yellow Jackets secure the six-point victory. Junior forward Danny Jones added 13 points and eight rebounds for Randolph-Macon. On the season, Jones leads four Yellow Jackets averging double figures in scoring with 13.1 points per game. Junior forward Jordan Brown is averaging 11.8 points per contest, while junior center Brandon Braxton is chipping in 11.6 points per game on 62.9 percent (83-132) shooting from the floor. Pugh is averaging 10.8 points and 2.9 assists per contest.
Last Time against Randolph-Macon
Randolph-Macon shot 55.0 percent (22-40) from the floor en route to posting a 74-66 victory over Washington and Lee at Crenshaw Gymnasium. The Generals held a slim lead for much of the first half, but the Yellow Jackets grabbed a two-point advantage (29-27) at the break. R-MC then held a slim lead itself in the early stages of the second stanza, before assuming control of the game with a 7-0 run. The Generals trailed 36-33 with 14:47 remaining, but Randolph-Macon used the aforementioned burst to assume a 10-point lead (43-33) with 12:33 left in the game. The Yellow Jackets then held W&L at bay for the duration as the Generals could get no closer than seven points the rest of the way. The Generals were led by forward Ben Goetsch’s 15 points and 11 rebounds. Senior guard Isaiah Goodman also tallied 15 points, while senior forward Ben Heller chipped in 11 points and seven boards. Senior guard Justin Short paced the Yellow Jackets with a game-high 21 points on 13-of-17 shooting from the foul line. Forward Danny Jones totaled 13 points and six boards, while guard Eric Pugh added 10 markers.
Washington and Lee and Randolph are meeting for just the second time, with Randolph taking a 63-60 overtime decision last season in the first meeting between the schools. Randolph enters the week with an overall record of 9-9 and an ODAC-mark of 2-5. The WildCats opened the season by winning eight of their first 11 games, but have since dropped 6-of-7 to fall back to .500. The WildCats fell, 54-48, to No. 3 Randolph-Macon on Saturday. Randolph held the Yellow Jackets to a season-low 54 points and limited them to just 20 made field goals, also a season-low, in nearly pulling off the upset. Senior guard Jason Rutschman was the lone Randolph player to score in double figures as he tallied 15 points. Sophomore forward Derrick Woods-Morrow added nine points and junior guard Caleb Pearson chipped in seven points and five boards. First-year guard Colton Hunt enters as the WildCats leading scorer on the season, averaging 12.3 points per game, while also averaging 5.9 rebounds per game. Rutschman checks in at 10.4 points per game and Woods-Morrow is adding 10.2 points and a team-high 6.8 rebounds per game.
Last time against Randolph • Randolph 63, W&L 60 (OT) • 2/9/09
Randolph guard Timothy Clarke scored 23 of his game-high 25 points after halftime to lead the WildCats to a 63-60 overtime win over Washington and Lee at the Warner Center. W&L held a four-point halftime advantage (32-28), but the WildCats opened the second half on a 17-4 run, capped by a pair of free throws from Clarke, to take a 45-36 lead at the 8:18 mark. The Generals responded with a 12-2 run to regain the lead (48-47) on a free throw by senior forward Ben Heller with 2:42 remaining. A three-point attempt from senior guard Chris McHugh at the end of regulation fell short as the game proceeded to overtime. In the overtime period, Clarke made all three of his field goal attempts and all three of his free-throws in scoring nine of Randolph’s 12 points. W&L had a chance to tie, but senior guard Isaiah Goodman could not connect on a last-second three-pointer. W&L shot just 36.1 percent from the floor, including 29.2 percent in the second half, and was outrebounded 43-32. Heller led the Generals with 16 points and seven rebounds. Senior forward Kirk Jones tied a season-high with 15 points and six rebounds, while McHugh chipped in 10 points and three assists. Forward Derrick Woods-Morrow added 12 points and 10 rebounds for the WildCats. Guard Jason Rutschman chipped in nine points and six rebounds.
STRONG START = STRONG FINISH
W&L is 39-7 in its last 46 games when leading at the break and has compiled a 73-29 (.712) record over the past 11 years when it leads at the break. W&L has won a total of 96 games during that stretch, meaning that the Generals have led at halftime in just over 75 percent of their wins during the last 11 years.
Hit on 20
Entering this season, senior forward Ben Goetsch had never recorded a 20-point game, with 19 being his career high. However, Goetsch has already posted games of 29 points, 27 points, 23 points, 21 points (on two occasions) and 20 points this season and W&L has already had an individual reach at least 20 points on nine different occasions, eclipsing the six 20-point games from a season ago.
Leading the way
With a career scoring average of 5.8 points per game entering the season, it may be a bit strange to see senior forward Ben Goetsch among the ODAC leaders in scoring with a robust 16.7 points per game average. However, it seems as though it may just be a matter of opportunity. Goetsch is a career 50.0 percent shooter from the floor and is averaging 13.8 shot attempts per game this season, including a career-high 25 shot attempts against Virginia Wesleyan. As a junior, Goestch took an average of 8.1 shots per game en route to posting a 9.7 ppg average. He took just 2.5 shot attempts per contest over his first two seasons combined.
Cold as Ice
As a team, W&L is hitting on 69.3 percent (79-114) of its free-throws taken in “crunch time”, compared to just 60.0 percent (138-230) of its attempts in the first 35 minutes of the game. Senior forward Ben Goetsch has shown the greatest improvement in the last five minutes. He is connecting on 65.4 percent (17-26) of his charity tosses in the final five minutes, but just 45.6 percent (26-57) of his tries in the first 35 minutes.
Cold as Ice II
If W&L has had a tough time connecting on free throws in the first 35 minutes of games, the Generals have had an even more difficult time hitting their three-point attempts at any point in the game. W&L is hitting just 28.5 percent (70-246) of its attempts from distance and has connected on 35.0 percent of its tries from distance in just three games thus far. Currently, the Generals rank last in the ODAC in both three point percentage (28.5) and three pointers made (70). Last season, W&L connected on 34.2 percent (156-456) of its three-point tries and averaged 5.4 three pointers made per game.
Senior forward Ben Goetsch is among the league leaders in rebounding with an average of 9.0 boards per contest and he has recorded at least 10 rebounds on six different occasions. In Saturday’s loss to Hampden-Sydney however, Goetsch found himself shut out of the rebounding column. This marked the first time since Nov. 11, 2008 that he had not recorded at least one rebound - a span of 43 consecutive games. Additionally, the Generals grabbed a season-low five offensive rebounds as a team and tied a season-low with 32 boards against the Tigers.
Not in my house
A one-point loss to Roanoke on Jan. 16, marked the first time all season that senior forward Zac White did not record at least one block and he again did not record a block in Saturday’s loss to Hampden-Sydney. However, White is third in the ODAC in blocked shots (1.7 bpg) and has 27 of W&L’s 50 blocked shots on the season. First-year forward J.D. Ey and first-year center Taylor Gilfillan are second on the team with five rejections apiece.
Junior guard Jason Cimino, who is averaging 3.9 assists per contest, has recorded four or more helpers on 10 occasions this season and has already racked up 62 assists, far surpassing the 34 dimes he dropped as a sophomore. When Cimino passes out at least four helpers, the Generals have posted a record of 7-3.
Many of the W&L men’s basketball players may want to condsider a second career as a mason, as the Generals have proven quite adept at brick laying this winter. Currently, the Generals rank dead last in the ODAC in free-throw percentage (.631), field goal percentage (.410), three-point percentage (.285) and, as a result of that inability to put the ball in the basket, the Generals are the lowest scoring team in the league at 63.6 points per game. All of that being said, the Generals are one of five teams in the league above .500 at 10-6. The other four teams are No. 2 Guilford (16-1), No. 3 Randolph-Macon (15-2), No. 7 Eastern Mennonite (14-2) and No. 12 Virginia Wesleyan (16-2).
Crash the boards
On the season, the Generals are sporting a rebounding average of 37.5 per game, while allowing just 34.0 rebounds per game to their opponents. Over the last five games however, the Generals have been even more dominant averaging, 39.7 rebounds while only allowing their opponents 33.6 boards per game for a + 6.1 margin. Additionally, W&L is averaging 13.1 offensive rebounds per game over the last seven contests, compared to just 8.0 offensive boards for its opponents. Senior forward Ben Goetsch is curently third in the ODAC with 3.8 offensive rebounds per game and he is second in the league with 9.6 total rebounds per game. He recently pulled down 18 rebounds in a 76-65 win over Emory, the highest total by a W&L player since Brian Ricketts ‘00 grabbed 21 boards against Lynchburg in 2000.
The turnovers continue to mount as the Generals have dropped four of their last six games. Over the last six games, W&L has posted 20+ turnovers on five occasions and is averaging 20.8 turnovers per contest. In W&L’s previous 10 games, the Generals recorded just 13.8 turnovers per game and eclipsed 20 turnovers on only two occasions. W&L also posted an 8-2 record in its first 10 games. Junior guard Jason Cimino, who is averaging 2.3 turnovers per game, has notched at least five turnovers in three of the Generals’ last four games and is averaging 3.3 giveaways over the last six games.
Off the pine
Senior forward Zac White, who started most of last season and had been in the starting lineup in each of W&L’s first 14 contests, has found himself coming off the bench in each of the Generals last two contests. White, who is averaging 12.7 points per game, seems to have regained his scoring touch with the move. White has recorded games of 13 points and 15 points since the move, this after he averaged 8.3 points and reached double figures in scoring on just one occasion in W&L’s previous four games. Since becoming a regular member of the rotation as a sophomore, White has started in 35 contests and he has come off the bench in 35 contests. Over the past three seasons, White averages 9.7 points per game when he starts and 6.0 points per game when he is summoned off the bench.
Head of the Class
Senior forward Ben Goetsch is one of only three players in the ODAC to be ranked in the Top 8 in both scoring and rebounding. Ben is currently eighth in the league in scoring (16.4 ppg) and second in rebounding (9.0). Joining him in the Top 8 in both categories are second-ranked Guilford’s 6-10 senior center Tyler Sanborn and seventh-ranked Eastern Mennonite junior guard Todd Phillips. Other Generals among the league’s best in category or another include junior guard Jason Cimino, who is fourth in the ODAC in assists (3.9 apg) and second in assist/turnover ratio (1.72). Senior forward, Zac White is third in the league in blocks and also ranks in the Top 20 in the conference in scoring (12.7 ppg), rebounding (5.3 rpg) and free-throw percentage (78.4 %).