January 10, 2012

W&L Men's Basketball Notes - Week 8

Game 14: 1/11/12 -  Washington and Lee (8-5, 2-3) at Roanoke (4-8, 0-3); Salem, Va.; 7:00 pm
Game 15: 1/14/12 -  Washington and Lee (8-5, 2-3) at Lynchburg (9-5, 4-2); Lynchburg, Va.; 3:00 pm

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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 a 94-126 (.427) 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 six 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 127-192 (.398).

LAST TIME OUT • W&L 72, EMU 65 (1/4/12)

Washington and Lee built a nine-point lead by halftime, then survived a spirited second-half rally in pulling out a 72-65 win over Eastern Mennonite on Wednesday. The Generals opened up the game on a 12-4 scoring run over the first 5:18, including a pair of three-pointers by first-year guard Javon McDonald. W&L extended its lead to 11 points (20-9) on a dunk by junior forward J.D. Ey with 9:57 on the clock. EMU then rattled off a 19-8 scoring run to inch to within a point at 28-27 with 4:00 showing on the clock. However, W&L righted itself and ended the half on another 12-4 scoring run to take a 40-31 lead at the break. The Generals shot 15-of-27 from the floor in the opening 20:00 minutes and held a 20-14 edge on the boards. In the second period, W&L cooled off to 41.7 percent shooting (10-24) and committed 12 turnovers as EMU came all the way back to tie the game at 57-57 with 6:15 to play. A pair of free throws by McDonald and a layup and free throw by sophomore forward Larry Whitaker pushed the Generals back out to a five-point advantage (62-57) with 3:49 showing on the clock. Dajon Daniel then knocked down a pair of triples sandwiched around another McDonald free throw to make it a one-point game (66-65) at the 1:34 mark, but EMU missed its final five shots from the field as W&L came away with the seven-point win. Ey led the Generals with his league-leading fifth double-double for the season, as he scored a game-high 19 points to go with 10 rebounds. McDonald finished with 17 points and sophomore center Drew Kimberly added 11 points and eight rebounds.
 
SCOUTING ROANOKE
Roanoke enters with a 4-8 overall record and a 3-0 mark in the ODAC. Most recently, the Maroons fell, 85-70, to Hampden-Sydney as H-SC raced out to a 26-8 lead early in the first period. RC pulled to within 12 points (43-31) at the break and had crept to within seven (58-51) late in the second half, but a game-ending 12-2 run for the Tigers propelled H-SC to victory. Senior forward Logan Singleton led RC with 23 points and six rebounds and junior guard Kwasi Amponsah added 18 points (16 in the second half) and a career-high five steals. On the season, Amponsah and Singleton sit 2nd and 4th in the ODAC in scoring with 18.8 and 18.0 ppg., respectively. The duo provide over 50.0 percent of the Maroon offense. Singleton is also third in the league in rebounding (7.6 rpg) and Amponsah's 2.6 steals per game are the fourth-best in the conference. Sophomore forward Jack Hamilton is adding 8.3 points and 7.2 rebounds per game.

Last Time Against Roanoke  •  W&L 73, Roanoke 66 (11/30/11)  •  Lexington, Va.
W&L team used a game-ending 11-4 run and received double-doubles from junior forward J.D. Ey and sophomore forward Larry Whitaker en route to a 73-66 victory over Roanoke at the Warner Center. After a pair of free throws by Roanoke junior guard Kwasi Amponsah with 4:04 to play tied the contest (62-62) for the eighth time, Ey and Whitaker made a combined 3-of-4 free throws to give W&L a 65-62 advantage at the 2:40 mark as W&L began its game-clinching run. A lay up by RC senior forward Logan Singleton pulled the Maroons back to within a point at 67-66 with 1:23 remaining, but four consecutive free throws by first-year guard Javon McDonald and two more by Whitaker kept the Maroons at bay down the stretch. The first half ended much the same way as the second half, as W&L used an 11-4 over the final 4:40 to turn a 27-26 deficit into a 37-31 lead at the break. Sophomore guard Devin Dillard drilled a pair of triples during the run and the Generals limited Roanoke to just 2-of-10 shooting with four turnovers during the run. Whitaker paced the Generals with 16 points and 10 boards three steals and two blocks, while Ey added 12 points and a game-high 13 rebounds. Junior forward Jeremy Adkins added 13 points and six boards and McDonald finished with 15 points.Amponsah, and Singleton scored 22 and 20 points, respectively, to pace the Maroons. Sophomore forward Jack Hamilton added 12 boards.

SCOUTING LYNCHBURG
The Hornets begin the week with a 9-5 record and a 4-2 in the league. Most recently, LC knocked off Guilford, 78-65, as sophomore Xavier Parham notched 18 points and six assists. Lynchburg closed the first half on a 9-2 run to take a 40-38 lead at the break, then scored the first 12 points of the second half in winning its second straight. Senior forward Nate Campbell added 15 points and five rebounds and junior center Austin Chillemi chipped in 13 points and six boards. On the season, Chillemi leads three Hornets averaging at least 10 points with 13.8 ppg. Campbell averages 13.2 points per game and sophomore forward Manny Hernandez checks in at 10.6 ppg. Chillemi also averages a team-high 6.7 rebounds per game, while Parham leads the league with 6.0 assists and 4.0 stealsl per game. As a team, LC is scoring 86.8 points per game and forcing opponents into 20.8 turnovers.


STRONG START  = STRONG FINISH
Proving that getting off to a strong start is vital, Washington and Lee has recorded a 64-13 (.831) record in its last 71 games when it leads at intermission and has compiled an 97-36 record (.729) 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 8-1 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 7-1 when scoring at least 70 points and 1-4 when failing to reach 70.

BLOCK PARTY
Junior forward J.D. Ey is tops in the ODAC with 34 blocks (2.6/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 13 games in 2011-12 and is averaging 18.5 minutes per game. Proving that good things come to those who wait, Buchanan is averaging 3.8 points, 2.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists per game and has notched a sterling 2.1 assist/turnover ratio in running the Generals' offensive attack. Against EMU, Buchanan notched three points, five rebounds and five assists against just two turnovers.

CHAIRMEN OF THE BOARD
Despite boasting ranking in the middle of the pack with in the ODAC with 38.3 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 fifth with 7.3 rpg.  Ey and Whitaker rank 1-3 in defensive rebounds (88/62) and 3-7 in offensive rebounds (40/33).

FINE FIFTEEN
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 13 games thus far, the Generals have already had five different players record at least 15 points in a game a total of 19 times, led by J.D. Ey and Javon McDonald with nine and seven games, respectively, of at least 15 points. For Ey, the nine 15+ point performances exceed his output from his first two seasons combined. Adkins has four such games already.

ROAD WARRIORS
The Generals take to the road for each of their next three games. Playing on the road is often a difficult task in the ODAC, but W&L has posted a more than respectable 29-26 (.527) record away from the Warner Center over the last five seasons, including this season's 4-3 road ledger. W&L's two destinations this week have treated the Generals well, as the Blue and White have won 3-of-4 in Salem, including a 75-62 win last year. The Generals have also won five straight in Lynchburg, including a 66-51 win in the play-in round of last season's ODAC Tournament.

FINE FIRST-YEAR
With his seven 15+ point performances in the season's first 13 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 which puts McDonald in a position to be the most profilic scoring rookie under 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 seven occasions (all in the last eight games no less). During his recent hot stretch, McDonald is averaging 17.0 points on 46.1 percent shooting (35-76) from the field, 43.5 percent (20-46) from the arc, and 70.8 percent (46-65) from the charity stripe. The first-year phenom ranks second in the ODAC in free throws made (59), one behind Kwasi Amponsah of Roanoke.
 
LOCKED IN
Junior forward Jeremy Adkins is currently third in the ODAC in free-throw shooting, having made good on 30-of-38 attempts from the line (.789). This despite a 1-for-5 showing in the win over EMU. Prior to that, he had not missed a free throw since the Generals' 100-64 loss at Amherst on Nov. 19, a span of nine games in which he went 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 70.7 percent (236-334) of its free-throw attempts and features five 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 41.4 percent (319-771) from the field. Three of Generals' rotation regulars are shooting below 40.0 percent as first-year guard Javon McDonald (38-99; .384), senior Kyle Bond (16-44; .364) and junior guard Kelton Buchanan (12-40; .300) 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 (22-42; .524) and junior forward J.D. Ey (76-161; .472). The Generals are 7-0 when shooting at least 40.0 percent in a game, and 1-5 when failing to reach 40.0 percent. In W&L's eight wins it has an average shooting percentage of 45.6 percent, compared to 34.9 percent in its five losses.

TURNOVER BATTLE
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 14.9 turnovers per game. Conversely, the Maroons are the third-most turnover prone team in the ODAC with 19.6 turnovers on average.

GET OUT THE BROOM
Should W&L knock off Roanoke in the teams' second meeting of the season, it would mark the first time since the 1988-89 season that the Generals have swept the regular season series from the Maroons. The two teams have split each of the four seasons and six of the last eight. RC won every regular season matchup from the 1995-96 season through the 2002-03 campaign and from 1991-2003 posted a 23-1 record against W&L. On the other side of the spectrum, the Generals have won 11 in a row against Lynchburg, having not lost since dropping a 62-60 decision on Jan. 14, 2006 in Lynchburg.