W&L Men's Basketball Game Notes - Week 7
Washington and Lee (7-5, 1-3 ODAC) at Eastern Mennonite (5-6, 1-2 ODAC)
Wednesday, Jan. 4 • Harrisonburg, Va./Yoder Arena • 7:00 pm
PDF Version of notes here.
The Head General
Adam Hutchinson (Amherst, '93) is in his ninth season as the head coach at Washington and Lee. He has led W&L to an 93-126 (.425) record, including four-straight winning campaigns - the first time in over 20 years that W&L has accomplished such a feat. The 2008 ODAC Coach of the Year, Hutchinson led his 2009 team to the ODAC Championship game for the first time since 1989. Earlier this seasonHutchinson passed Harry (Cy) Young for second all-time in coaching wins at W&L. With seven wins, he would become just the second coach in school history to reach the 100-win plateau. In his 13 seasons of coaching, Hutchinson has an overall record of 126-192 (.396).
Last Time Out • Hampden-Sydney 77, W&L 65 (1/1/12)
Washington and Lee shot just 37.3 percent from the floor in falling, 77-65, to Hampden-Sydney on Sunday afternoon at the Warner Center. The Generals made good on just 22-of-59 shot attempts, including just 4-of-14 from beyond the arc, while Hampden-Sydney connected on 56.3 percent (27-48) of its field goal attempts in securing its fourth straight win over W&L. After sluggish starts by both teams, the Tigers took a 21-11 lead at the 6:19 mark of the first period before the Generals received back-to-back buckets from junior forward Jeremy Adkins and rattled off a 13-4 scoring run to pull to within a point (25-24) with 2:42 on the clock. However, the Tigers closed the first half on a 10-0 spurt, capped by a triple from senior guard Ben Jessee, to assume a 34-24 lead at the break. In the second half, H-SC extended its lead to as many as 15 points (39-24) with 18:25 to play before the Generals managed to climb to within six points (57-51) with 6:45 remaining. Once again however, the Tigers pulled away, hitting their next six shots in succession to push back out to a 12-point advantage (72-60) with 1:53 to play. Junior forward J.D. Ey led the Generals with his fourth double-double of the season. He finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Sophomore guard Kevin Gill added 14 points, 12 in the second half, on 5-of-8 shooting, including 3-of-4 from long range. Sophomore forward Larry Whitaker (Bartlett, Ill./Bartlett) and first-year guard Javon McDonald each netted eight points.
Scouting Eastern Mennonite
Eastern Mennonite enters with an overall record of 5-6 and a 1-2 mark in league play. The Royals have won three straight contests after what had been a four-game skid. In EMU's last contest, sophomore forward Dajon Daniel's layup at the buzzer propelled Eastern Mennonite to an 88-87 win over Shenandoah on Dec. 20. EMU held a 5-point lead (76-71) with only 1:24 to play, but five turnovers down the stretch enable the Hornets to complete the comeback and force overtime on a steal and layup with four seconds remaining in regulation. SU then took a six-point lead (83-77) in OT, but proceeded to miss 7-of-11 free throws enabling EMU to crawl back in the game and set up Daniel's heroics. Sophomore forward R.J. Sims led the Royals with 29 points and he grabbed six rebounds. Daniel finished with 18 points, seven assists and five boards, first-year forward David Falk chipped in 15 points off the bench and sophomore guard Adam Burroughs had nine points and seven rebounds. On the season, Sims leads the Royals with 14.6 points per game and junior forward Andrew Thorne checks in at 11.7 ppg. Thorne also leads the Royals with 5.3 rebounds per game. As a team, the Royals are averaging 77.7 points per game, but are shooting just 42.4 percent from the floor. Additionally, EMU turns the ball over 21.5 times per game and the Royals are being outrebounded 39.6-37.6 on average.
Last Time Against Eastern Mennonite
EMU 94, W&L 82 (Harrisonburg, Va. • Feb. 16, 2011)
Senior forward Todd Phillips led five Royals in double-digits with 22 points and eight rebounds as 14th-ranked Eastern Mennonite defeated Washington and Lee 94-82 at Yoder Arena. The first half featured eight lead changes and five ties before the Royals wrestled the lead away with 7:55 left on a Phillips' three-pointer. The basket jump-started an 11-2 run that gave EMU a 33-24 lead with 6:00 remaining before the half. However, the Generals would not allow the Royals to pull away and a stick back bucket by forward Larry Whitaker with 12 seconds left made it a three-point game (42-39) at the intermission. The Generals grabbed the lead back (43-42) just 1:15 into the second half on a layup by forward J.D. Ey, but senior center Orie Pancione hit a layup of his own on the next possession to give the Royals the lead for good. The lead slowly grew to 10 points (65-55) following a three-point play by Phillips at the 10:45 mark, but a 4-0 burst cut it to a six-point game (65-59) just 39 seconds later. However, that would be as close as the Generals would get the rest of the way as they dropped their fourth-straight game. Washington and Lee shot 52.2 percent (36-69) from the floor and held a slight 37-35 advantage on the boards. However, the Generals were just 1-of-7 (.143) from beyond the arc and they shot 9-of-15 (.600) from the foul line. Conversely, Eastern Mennonite was 11-of-26 (.423) from three-point range and 25-of-31 (.806) from the free throw line. Ey led the Generals with a career-high 26 points on 12-of-15 shooting from the field. He also grabbed 10 rebounds, dished out four assists and blocked four shots. Whitaker posted a career-best 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting and grabbed 10 rebounds, while guard Kyle Bond also reached a career-high with 13 markers. First-year forward Jonathan Rice chipped in 11 points and five boards. Phillips was 7-of-10 from the floor and 5-of-8 from three-point range in scoring his team-high 22 points. Senior forward Eli Crawford posted 19 points and eight boards, while senior forward D.J. Hinson registered 14 points. Pancione and senior guard George Johnson both added 13 points.
STRONG START = STRONG FINISH
Proving that getting off to a strong start is vital, Washington and Lee has recorded a 63-13 (.829) record in its last 71 games when it leads at intermission and has compiled an 96-36 record (.727) over the last 12 years when leading at the break. Holding true to that notion, W&L posted an 11-4 record last season when holding a halftime lead and is 7-1 thus far in 2011-12.
70 or Bust
W&L averaged a hair over 70 points per game last season at 70.5. Proving that the 70-point threshold was vital to the Generals' success, W&L posted an 11-3 mark in games where it scored at least 70 points. However, when the Generals failed to reach 70 points, the result was a dismal 3-10 mark. So far in 2011-12, the Generals are 6-1 when scoring at least 70 points and 1-4 when failing to reach 70.
Washington and Lee has made it a habit of knocking off some of the country's best teams over the past several seasons. The Generals have recorded at least one win over a ranked opponent in each of the last three seasons. Last year, it was a 93-92 win over then-10th-ranked Eastern Mennonite. That accumen for defeating ranked foes may come in handy as W&L battles a difficult schedule that features a pair of dates with Preseason No. 1 Virginia Wesleyan, a matchup with preseason No. 4 Amherst, two games against preseason No. 23 Hampden-Sydney, as well as two dates with Eastern Mennonite and one apiece with Randolph-Macon and Christopher Newport, who all received votes in the preseason poll.
Junior forward J.D. Ey is tops in the ODAC with 30 blocks (2.5/game), a total that is equal to or better than four TEAMS in the ODAC and just four fewer than Juniata has as a whole. No other player in the league has more than 18 swats. In just his third season, Ey has already moved fourth place all-time at W&L in blocked shots, with 80. His seven rejections in W&L's 93-89 2OT win over Juniata tied the school record for blocks in a game.
Biding His Time
Junior guard Kelton Buchanan, who saw action in 35 games over his first two seasons (averaging just 7.3 minutes per game), has been in the starting lineup in each of the Generals' first 11 games in 2011-12 and is averaging 17.8 minutes per game. Proving that good things come to those who wait, Buchanan is averaging 3.8 points, 2.1 rebounds, 2.0 assists per game and has notched a sterling 2.0 assist/turnover ratio in running the Generals' offensive attack.
Chairmen of the Board
Despite boasting ranking in the middle of the pack with in the ODAC with 38.1 rebounds per game, the Generals boast two of the league's best players on the glass. Junior forward J.D. Ey leads the league with 9.8 rebounds per game and sophomore forward Larry Whitaker is curently seventh with 7.8 rpg. Ey and Whitaker rank 1-3 in defensive rebounds (80/59) and 2-4 in offensive rebounds (38/30).
In 27 games last season, W&L saw seven different players score at least 15 points in a game a total of 17 times, led by eight such performances from forward Jeremy Adkins. In 11 games thus far, the Generals have already had five different players record at least 15 points in a game a total of 16 times, led by J.D. Ey and Javon McDonald with seven and six games, respectively, of at least 15 points. For Ey, the seven 15+ point performances exceed his output from his first two seasons combined. Adkins has four such games already.
Junior forward J.D. Ey must be looking forward to the matchup against Eastern Mennonite this week, as several of his best performances last season came at the expense of the Royals. In two meetings a year ago, Ey averaged 23.5 points, 7.0 retbounds, 2.5 blocked shots and 2.5 assists. He shot a whopping 76.9 percent (20-26) in the two games combined, as each team won on its own home floor.
The Generals take to the road for each of their next four games. Playing on the road is often a difficult task in the ODAC, but W&L has posted a more than respectable 28-26 (.519) record away from the Warner Center over the last five seasons, including this season's 3-3 road ledger.
With his six 15+ point performances in the season's first 12 games, first-year guard Javon McDonald has accomplished something that not many first-years have done in recent years. The last first-year to record at least 15 points three times in his debut season was Isaiah Goodman '09, who did it four times in the 2005-06 season. Femi Kusimo '08 did so four times as well in the 04-05 season. Greg Bienemann '08 and Chris Halkitis '07 each had eight such games as first-years, the highest totals under coach Adam Hutchinson.
"I'm Loving it"
While "I'm Loving It" may be known as the McDonald's restaurant catchphrase, first-year guard Javon McDonald is giving new meaning to the phrase for head coach Adam Hutchinson. As mentioned above, McDonald has already scored at least 15 points on six occasions. During his recent hot stretch, McDonald is averaging 17.0 points on 45.6 percent shooting (31-68) from the field, 42.9 percent (18-42) from the arc, and 70.9 percent (39-55) from the charity stripe. The first-year phenom ranks first in the ODAC in free throws made (52).
Junior forward Jeremy Adkins is currently second in the ODAC in free-throw shooting, having made good on 29-of-33 attempts from the line (.879). He has not missed a free throw since the Generals' 100-64 loss at Amherst on Nov. 19, a span of nine games in which he as gone 19-for-19. As a team, the Generals are the only squad in the ODAC to boast a better than 70.0 percent mark from the charity stripe. W&L is currently hitting 72.2 percent (218-302) of its free-throw attempts and features six rotation regulars hitting at 70.0 percent or better.
Locked In? - Not so Much
While the Generals have performed exceptionally well at free-throw line, their field goal percentages leave much to be deisred. As a team, W&L is shooting a league-worst 40.8 percent (294-720) from the field. Three of Generals' rotation regulars are shooting below 40.0 percent as first-year guard Javon McDonald (34-91; .374), senior Kyle Bond (16-43; .372) and junior guard Kelton Buchanan (11-39; .282) have struggled from the field in the early going. Only two regular players have shot 45.0 percent or better thus far in sophomore center Drew Kimberly (17-32; .531) and junior forward J.D. Ey (69-150; .460). The Generals are 6-0 when shooting at least 40.0 percent in a game, and 1-5 when failing to reach 40.0 percent. In W&L's seven wins it has an average shooting percentage of 45.2 percent, compared to 34.9 percent in its five losses.
Despite being the league's worst shooting team, W&L has proven to be reliable when it comes to taking care of the basketball. The Generals are second in the conference with just 14.2 turnovers per game. Conversely, the Royals are the second-most turnover prone team in the ODAC with 21.4 turnovers on average.