December 28, 2010

W&L Men's Hoops Game Notes - Week 5

W&L Men's Basketball Week 5

12/30/2010: W&L (6-2) at Emory University (7-1); Atlanta, Ga.; 4:00 pm

PDF Version of notes

The Head General
Adam Hutchinson (Amherst, '93) is in his eighth season as the head coach at Washington and Lee. He has led W&L to a 78-109 (.417) record, including four-straight winning campaigns - the first time in over 20 years that W&L has accomplished such a feat. He has increased his win total from one year to the next each of the past five seasons. The 2008 ODAC Coach of the Year, Hutchinson led his 2009 team to the ODAC Championship game for the first time since 1989. Hutchinson is currently the fourth-winningest coach in W&L history and if he were to match last season's 17-win total, he would move into a tie with Cy Young (89-61) for second all-time in wins at W&L. In his 12 seasons of coaching, Hutchinson has an overall record of 111-175 (.388).

Last time out  •  W&L 71, Guilford 67 (12/8/10)

Washington and Lee held Guilford to 32.8 percent (21-64) shooting from the floor and weathered 34 points, 23 coming in the second half, from GC sophomore guard Josh Pittman in posting a 71-67 win over the Quakers at the Warner Center. Pittman tallied 34 of the Quakers' 67 points on 9-of-18 shooting, including 7-of-14 from beyond the arc, but W&L held the rest of the team to just 12-of-46 (.261) from the field while hitting on 40.7 percent (22-54) of its own field goal tries, including 48.1 percent (13-27) in the second half. After a sluggish start that saw both teams combine to connect on just four of their first 22 shots from the floor, W&L opened up a 10-point lead (26-16) with 4:50 to play in the opening half on a three pointer from sophomore forward Hans Harris. Guilford managed to pull to within six points by the halftime break (27-21) as Pittman knocked down one of his seven triples with 39 seconds remaining in the opening period. The Quakers started quickly in the second half, knotting the score at 29-29 just under two minutes into the period on a layup from senior guard T.C. Anderson, forcing the Generals to call a timeout. Following the stoppage, the Generals scored the next 10 points of the contest; bookended by triples from sophomore forward Jeremy Adkins and junior guard Kyle Bond to assume a 39-29 lead with 14:43 showing on the clock. The Generals' lead remained a comfortable 12 points (57-45) with 6:32 left to play, but Pittman scored 15 of Guilford's next 17 points and the Quakers pulled even at 62-62 with 2:11 left. On the ensuing possession, first-year forward Jonathan Rice snared an offensive rebounded and converted a layup to give W&L a 64-62 lead and Adkins drilled another triple following a GC missed shot to give Washington and Lee a 67-62 lead en route to the four-point win. Adkins led W&L with 17 points and added four rebounds. Rice totaled 11 points and eight rebounds, sophomore forward JD Ey nearly had a double-double with nine points and nine boards and first-year guard Kevin Gill chipped in nine points as well.

Last Time against Emory  •  W&L 76, Emory 65 (1/3/10)
Washington and Lee connected on 11 three-pointers and guard Jason Cimino led three Generals in double figures with 17 points as W&L defeated Emory, 76-65, in the championship game of the Washington and Lee Tournament at the Warner Center. Cimino was a perfect 4-4 from beyond arc and, as a team, the Generals hit on 11-of-22 tries from distance. Trailing 13-10 at the 12:41 mark of the first half, a dunk from forward J.D. Ey triggered a 17-2 run that gave the Generals a 27-15 lead with 7:21 left in the opening period. However, the Eagles went on a 17-2 run of their own that gave them a 32-29 lead with 1:23 remaining. Cimino pulled W&L to within two points (32-30) when he split a pair of free throws with 55 seconds left and his three-pointer with two seconds remaining gave the Generals a 33-32 edge at the break. Emory took a 41-40 lead at the 13:42 mark of the second half on a jumper by senior forward Anthony Fernandez, but on the ensuing possession, W&L guard Doug Poetzsch hit his third three-pointer of the game to put W&L back on top at 43-41 and the Generals did not trail the rest of the game as they pulled away for the win. Cimino shot 5-of-6 from the field and 3-of-4 from the line while adding five assists and was named to the all-tournament team for his efforts. Senior forward Zac White joined him on the all-tournament team and was named the tournament's MVP. White followed up Saturday's double-double with 14 points to go with three rebounds and three blocked shots. Ey added 11 points and eight rebounds, while senior forward Ben Goetsch pulled down 18 rebounds to go with seven points. The Eagles were led by guard Alex Greven, who notched 21 points on 5-9 shooting. Guard Julien Williams and senior forward Chad Hixon added nine points apiece and Hixon led Emory with six boards.

Scouting Emory
Emory enters the week with an overall record of 7-1 and recently suffered its first loss of year, 74-66 to  previously winless LaGrange. The Panthers earned the win by closing out the final 2:34 of the contest with a 14-4 scoring burst that wiped out a two-point Emory lead as the Eagles could only hit two of their final nine field goal attempts.  After Emory junior guard Austin Claunch had given the Eagles a 62-60 edge after knocking down a pair of free throws with 2:51 left in the contest,  LaGrange responded with a 10-0 run to go up by 10 points (72-62) with just 41 ticks on the clock. Emory ended the evening shooting 42.1 percent from the floor, hitting 24-of-57 opportunities while LaGrange was successful on 53.7 percent (29-of-54). Freshman Jake Davis led the Eagles with 17 points, his fourth straight double-figure scoring outing. Sophomore guard Alex Greven and Claunch rounded out the team's double-figure scorers with 16 and 15 points, respectively. On the season, the Eagles are among the nation's most prolific offenses averaging 84.0 points per game (27th in Div. III). Four Emory players are currently averaging at least 10.0 points per game, led by sophomore guard Alex Greven (19.0). Guard Austin Claunch (15.4), guard Alex Gulotta (15.1) and first-year forward Jake Davis (12.4) round out the Eagles' top scorers. Additionally, Claunch has passed out a team-high 58 assists and Gulotta is hitting a gaudy 56.3 percent (36-64) of his attempts from three-point range. Julien Williams and Michael Friedberg lead Emroy with 5.4 rebounds per game, while Davis is contirbuting 5.3 caroms per outing.

Strong start = Strong finish
Proving that getting off to a strong start is vital, Washington and Lee has recorded a 50-10 (.862) record in its last 60 games when it leads at intermission and has compiled an 84-33 record (.737) over the last 11 years when leading at the break. Holding true to that notion, W&L has already posted a 4-2 record this season when leading at the break.

Giant Killers
From 1998-2008, Washington and Lee had not defeated a ranked opponent in basketball. However, two years ago W&L knocked off a pair of them (No. 18 Roanoke, 68-66; No. 17 Guilford, 82-76) and last season, the Generals defeated another ranked foe, downing No. 9 Randolph-Macon, 65-57.  W&L will look to complete the trifecta this season as three of its conference foes are currently ranked in the d3hoops.com Top 25 (No. 3 Virginia Wesleyan, No. 9 Eastern Mennonite, No. 11 Randolph-Macon).

Taking The defensive
Last season, Washington and Lee led the ODAC in points allowed, surrendering an average of just 64.0 points per game. Thus far in the 2010-11 campaign, the Generals are surrendering an average of 65.0 points per game (5th in ODAC), including just 45 in a 59-45 win over Swarthmore. That defensive effort was the sixth time under coach Hutchinson that a W&L defense has allowed fewer than 50 points to its opponent and the Generals are 5-1 in those games. Randolph-Macon College currently leads the league with just 54.2 points surrendered on average.

Depth Charge
Entering the season, depth did not figure to be too large a concern for the Generals as 17 players are currently on the roster. Thus far, W&L features 10 different players averaging at least 10 minutes per game and coach Hutchinson used 11 players in the first half alone of the season-opener against Dickinson. With that depth comes balance, as all 10 players that are currently in the rotation are scoring at least 3.9 points per game, led by sophomore forward Jeremy Adkins at 10.9 points per game. Sophomore forward J.D. Ey is second in scoring, at 9.8 ppg., and leads the Generals with 8.9 rebounds per game.

First Impressions
First-year forwards Jonathan Rice and Larry Whitaker  and rookie guard Kevin Gill have made quite an impression in the early going. Among the first three players off the bench, each is averaging better than 13 minutes per game, led by Gill's 20.3 mpg. Rice has proven to be an effective presence in the post, averaging 8.1 points and 4.4 rebounds in 18.3 minutes per game. Whitaker is third on the team with 3.8 rebounds per game and his 11 offensive rebounds are also third on the team. Gill is averaging 6.0 points per game is second on the team in three pointers made (10) and three-point percentage (.385, 10-26).

Stat Stuffer
J.D. Ey has proven to be Mr. Reliable for the Generals through the season's first eight games. The sophomore forward is currently second on the team with a scoring average of 9.8 points per game and is leading the Generals  and the ODAC with 8.9 rebounds per game. In addition to leading the way in those two categories, he tops the squad with 2.0 blocks (2nd in ODAC), 2.3 assists and 1.4 steals per game. In fact, he has more blocked shots (16) then the rest of the team combined (14). He is on pace to far surpass last season's block (15), steal (23) and assist (24) totals having totaled 18 assists, 16 rejections and 11 steals already.

Board Work
Sophomore forward J.D. Ey is currently tops in the ODAC with 8.9 rebounds per game and is tied for second in the ODAC with 3.3 offensive rebounds per game. He recently recorded at least 10 boards in four-consecutive games, becoming the first General to grab at least 10 rebounds in four-straight games since Greg Croghan '75 did so from Jan. 14-25, 1975. Ey has led the Generals in rebounding in each of W&L's eight games.

Handle the Rock
In their 87-78 win over Averett, the Generals turned the ball over a season-low four times and forced 14 turnovers - a +10 TO margin. On the season, W&L is averaging a league-low 12.4 turnovers per game, a number that is also good for 38th nationally. The Generals turnover margin stands at + 4.75 per game on the season, good for third in the ODAC.

Handle the Rock II
In W&L's 87-78 win over Averett, the Generals turned the ball over just four times, forced 14 Cougar turnovers and handed out a season-high 19 assists, including a career-high six helpers from sophomore forward J.D. Ey. On the season, the Generals currently lead the ODAC with just 12.4 turnovers committed per game. Additionally, the 19-4 assist/turnover ratio of 4.75 was the highest single-game ratio the Generals have recorded under coach Hutchinson.

Dry Spell
After ranking among the league leaders in free-throw percentage at 84.7 percent (61-72) a season ago, senior guard Jason Cimino finds himself hitting on just 33.3 percent (4-12) of his charity tosses, including just 1-of-8 in the final five minutes of games this season. As a team, the Generals are connecting on 63.3 percent (124-196) of their free throws - the second-lowest mark in the conference. Lynchburg leads the ODAC with a 72.6 percent (143-197) success rate at the charity stripe.

Dry Spell II
Despite the aforementioned low free-throw percentage as a team, W&L features two of the league's most proficient shooters from the charity stripe. Sophomore forward Jeremy Adkins is currenlty ranked fifth in the league, connecting on 81.8 percent of his tosses (18-22) and junior guard Kyle Bond ranks sixth in the ODAC at .800 (20-25).  Aside from those two, the Generals are hitting on just 57.7 percent of their free throws (86-149). Adkins has connected on his last 11 free-throw attempts, his last miss coming in a 67-62 win over Haverford on  Nov. 19.  Bond has made his last 14 tosses, having not missed since a 75-62 win over Roanoke on Dec. 1.

Seven Up
Washington and Lee will be looking for its seventh-straight win in its first game out of the holiday/exam break on Thursday and its 13th such win since 1990. W&L is 13-8 in its first game after the break over the last 21 seasons, and 6-1 under coach Hutchinson. The Generals last loss coming out of the break came in Hutchinson's first season in 2003-04, a 49-48 loss to Trinity (Conn.).

Tournament Time
Following their trip to Atlanta to take on Emory, the Generals will come back to Emory to take part in the annual W&L Invitational. W&L has posted a 10-0 record in its own tournament under coach Hutchinson. The Generals have yet to lose in its own tournament, which began in the 2004-05 season. Last season, W&L posted wins over Swarthmore (59-48) and Emory (76-65). The Generals have posted an all-time scoring margin of  +128 in the tournament, an average of 70.9-58.1 (12.8 ppg).