CHICOPEE, Mass. – Junior guard Jeremy Adkins (Huntington, W.Va./Spring Valley) scored 24 points and junior forward J.D. Ey (Charlotte, N.C./Myers Park) tallied 16 points, a career-high 21 rebounds and a career-high seven assists to lead the Washington and Lee men's basketball team to a 72-68 win over Elms College in the opening round of the Ken Wright '52 Memorial Invitational Tournament at Elms on Friday evening.
The Generals (2-0) took the lead out of the gate on an Ey jumper 14 seconds into the game and quickly stretched their advantage to nine points (12-3) just 4:47 into the contest. Elms (0-1) then used a 7-0 run to pull within two points (12-10) with 12:53 left in the first half, but W&L went on a 7-0 spurt of its own to push back out to a 19-10 lead with 10:48 left in the first stanza.
The W&L lead swelled to as many as 13 points on three occasions, the last occurring on a jumper by sophomore forward Larry Whitaker (Bartlett, Ill./Bartlett) at the 2:55 mark (30-17) as the Generals carried a 32-25 lead into the break despite committing 14 turnovers in the opening 20 minutes.
W&L maintained its lead until senior guard Bryant Corcoran drained a three-pointer at the 11:09 mark to give the Blazers a 46-45 lead. The two teams then traded the lead back-and-forth twice and were tied (53-53) once over the next four minutes and change until six free throws, two by Whitaker and four by senior guard Kyle Bond (Boxborough, Mass./Brimmer and May), sandwiched around a single bucket for Elms, gave the Generals a 59-55 lead with 5:29 to play.
The Blazers pulled to within one point (65-64) on a pair of free throws by sophomore guard Andre French with 2:13 left in the game, but Bond made a layup just five seconds later and Whitaker and Adkins combined to make three free throws down the stretch as W&L held on for the win.
Washington and Lee overcame 27 turnovers by out-rebounding Elms, 50-36, and out-scoring the Blazers 25-11 at the free throw line. Bond added 10 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the foul line, while Whitaker had seven points and 12 boards.
French paced Elms, an NCAA Tournament participant last season, with a game-high 25 points on 5-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc. Corcoran scored 11 points and junior forward Jamal Hulum chipped in 10 points and seven rebounds.
Washington and Lee advances to Saturday's championship game where it will take on fourth-ranked Amherst at 3:00 pm.
-- GENERALS --