W&L Men's Basketball Game Notes - Week 8

Week 8

W&L (9-5) at Methodist (0-13), Wed., Jan. 20 • 7:00 pm
W&L (9-5, 2-4) at Hampden-Sydney (6-9, 2-5), Sat., Jan. 23 • 2:00 pm

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Adam Hutchinson (Amherst ‘93) is in his seventh season as the head coach at Washington and Lee.  Hutchinson has led W&L to a 64-103 (.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 97-170 (.363) overall.

Junior guard Parrish Walker hit 1-of-2 free throws with just over five seconds remaining to lift Roanoke College to a 60-59 victory over Washington and Lee in ODAC men’s basketball action on Saturday evening at the Bast Center. The Generals knotted the game at 59-59 when junior guard Jason Cimino drilled a three-pointer with 16 seconds remaining. Senior forward Zac White then tried to draw a charge on Walker well away from the basket in the final seconds, but was called for the blocking foul, which set up Walker’s game-winning charity toss. W&L was unable to get off a shot on the final possession as Roanoke won for just the second time in its last nine games. W&L committed 20 turnovers and shot just 39.7 percent (23-58) from the field, including 3-of-14 (.214) from the three-point arc. Neither team led by more than five points in the opening stanza and Roanoke carried a 26-23 lead at the break. The Maroons used an 11-2 run midway through the second half to stretch out to an 11-point lead (47-36) with 8:45 remaining in the game. Roanoke maintained a seven-point lead (58-51) with 1:59 left in the contest, but the Generals cut it to a 58-56 game just 53 seconds later on a dunk by first-year forward J.D. Ey and a three-pointer by White. After RC first-year guard Kwasi Amponsah hit 1-of-2 free throws and sophomore forward Michael McGeough missed the front end of a one-and-one, Cimino sunk the three-pointer than set up the game’s ending moments. Senior forward Ben Goetsch led W&L with 16 points and eight rebounds, while White had 12 points and six boards. Senior forward Andrew Payne chipped in nine points and six rebounds.

Methodist enters the week with an 0-13 overall record and will be seeking its first win since Feb. 24, 2009, when it took a 79-74 (OT) decision from Ferrum. Most recently, the Monarchs were defeated by Lynchburg, 93-59. Lynchburg out-rebounded Methodist, 46-26, and shot over 55 percent from the field in the opening half in racing out to a 51-29 lead. The Monarchs were led by sophomore Tanner Carnes’ 15 points, while senior guard Tyler Sigman added 10 points and three assists. On the season, Methodist is paced by Carnes’ 15.8 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. Sophomore Mark Jernigan is averaging 14.1 points and 5.4 boards per game, while SIgman is chipping in 11.2 points and 2.3 assists per game. As a team, Methodist is allowing 91.2 points per game, while averaging 19.8 turnovers per contest. The Monarchs also have a rebounding margin of -9.6 (43.2-33.6)

W&L and Hampden-Sydney are squaring off for the 112th time, with the Tigers boasting 69-42 advantage in the all-time series. The Tigers enter the week with a 6-9 overall record and a 2-5 mark in league-play. H-SC has lost five of its last six games, though four of those losses were by five points or fewer. Most recently, H-SC suffered a 64-59 defeat at the hands of Bridgewater. In the loss to the Eagles, H-SC received 17 points apiece from sophomore guard Ben Jessee and first-year forward Harrison George. George also added eight rebounds for the Tigers, who shot just 23.1 percent (6-26) from the floor in the first half and connected on just 13-21 free throws for the game. On the season, Hampden-Sydney is led by senior guard Turner King, who is averaging 16.7 points and 5.8 rebounds, while connecting on 43.9 percent (29-66) of his attempts from distance. George is second on the team in scoring, averaging 13.0 points and a team-high 6.8 rebounds per night. Jessee rounds out the Tigers averaging double figures in points with 12.7 points per game.

Washington and Lee shot 52.3 percent from the floor and held Hampden-Sydney’s leading scorer, guard Turner King, without a point in posting a 73-60 victory over the Tigers at the Warner Center. Neither team led by more than eight points in the first half and W&L carried a 31-25 advantage into the intermission.  However, the Generals shot 57.1 percent in the final 20 minutes and opened the second stanza on a 12-6 run to push out to a 12-point lead (43-31) with 15:25 to play. Hampden-Sydney cut the Generals’ advantage to as few as eight points on several occasions, with the last occuring at 6:55 (56-48), but W&L forward Zac White hit a three-pointer on the next possession for a 59-48 lead and the Generals held a double-digit advantage for the remainder of the contest. White led W&L with 19 points on 6-of-10 shooting, including 3-of-4 shooting from three-point range.  He also spent most of the game defending King, who entered the contest averaging 21.0 points per game.  Senior forward Ben Heller posted 16 points and seven rebounds, while senior guard Chris McHugh chipped in 11 points and three assists. Hampden-Sydney was paced by guard Jonathan Mudd and guard Ben Jessee, who scored 16 points each. Forward Lane Medlin notched 15 points, while forward Shane Payne added 10 points and nine boards.

W&L is 38-7 in its last 45 games when leading at the break and has compiled a 72-29 (.712) record over the past 11 years when it leads at the break. W&L has won a total of 95 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.

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.

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 17.4 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.

As a team, W&L is hitting on 68.6 percent (70-102) of its free-throws taken in “crunch time”, compared to just 59.5 percent (110-185) 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 65.2 percent (15-23) of his charity tosses in the final five minutes, but just 45.5 percent (20-44) of his tries in the first 35 minutes. As a team, Washington and Lee is last in the ODAC with an overall free throw percentage of 63.0 percent.

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 27.1 percent (49-181) of its attempts from distance and has made five triples or more in just three games thus far. Currently, the Generals rank last in the ODAC in both three point percentage (27.6) and three pointers made (58). 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.

W&L senior forward Ben Goetsch has been W&L’s most reliable player thus far in 2009-10, posting team-highs in points per game (17.4) and rebounds per game (9.6). However, it seems that teams are beginning to adjust and have begun to put the clamps on him. Through the season’s first six games, Goetsch was averaging 22.0 points and 9.0 rebounds per game, but over the last eight games he has seen his scoring average dip to 14.0 points per game, while his rebounding has actually increased slightly (10.1 rpg). Part of the decline in scoring could be attributed to his lack of free throw attempts. Through the first six games of the season, Goetsch attempted an average of 8.3 free throws per game. Over the last eight games, he has attempted just 2.6 free throws per game and has connected on just nine total attempts (9-21).

Not that anybody would call them “late bloomers”, but W&L senior forwards Zac White, Ben Goetsch and Andrew Payne have blossomed of late and are playing the best basketball of their careers. All three have establised new career highs in scoring and rebounding already this season and their play has been vital to the Generals’ 8-4 start.

On the season, the Generals are sporting a rebounding average of 37.6 rpg, while allowing just 34.4 rpg 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.

In the Generals 83-48 loss to Eastern Mennonite, W&L failed to have a player reach double figures for the first time since a 62-46 loss to Randolph-Macon on Jan. 28, 2006 - a streak of 95 consecutive games. John Mumper ‘08 scored a team-high nine points in that game, which was also the third time that season that the Generals did not have a player reach at least 10 points.

W&L failed to reach the 50-point barrier in suffering two of its five losses on the season. The Generals fell, 63-46, to Case Westen Reserve and 83-48 to Eastern Mennonite. Since coach Hutchinson took over, W&L has failed to reach the 50-point mark on 24 occasions and the Generals hold a 1-23 (.042) mark in those contests. When reaching at least 50 points, the Generals have posted a 62-79 record (.440) under Hutchinson. W&L’s last win when scoring fewer than 50 points was a 49-44 triumph over Lynchburg on Feb. 8, 2004 in Lexington.

Washington and Lee’s 35-point loss to the Royals marked the largest margin of defeat by a W&L team since a 37-point (98-61) defeat at the hands of Virginia Wesleyan on Dec. 5, 2004. The loss also tied the worst home loss in coach Hutchinson’s career at W&L, tying a 35-point loss to Guilford (79-44) back on Feb. 11, 2004 - Hutch’s first season in Lexington.

The 34 points scored by EMU’s D.J. Hinson marked the second-highest individual scoring game by a W&L opponent and just the third time that an opponent has eclipsed 30 points since coach Hutchinson took over the reins. Emory’s Chase Fawcett scored 35 points on Nov. 27, 2004 and Guilford’s Jordan Snipes dropped in 32 points on Feb. 14, 2007 for the other two instances. What’s interesting is that current W&L assistant coach Caleb Kimbrough has been involved in two of those games as he was in the starting lineup for Guilford when Snipes scored 32 -- Kimbrough only contributed nine points in GC’s 95-77 win.

The stars must have been aligned against W&L in the Generals’ recent loss to Virginia Wesleyan. W&L shot better than 40.0 percent from the floor (40.3), it led at the half (35-28), it had more assists than VWC (14-9) and it outrebounded the Marlins (35-28). Despite W&L holding an upper hand in all of these categories, VWC was able to hand the Generals their first loss of the season when they were able to do any ONE of the things above. Additionally, the loss marked the Generals’ first loss of the season in a day game, as well as W&L’s first loss on a Saturday.

Saturday’s one-point loss to Roanoke marked the first time all season that senior forward Zac White did not record at least one block. White, who is third in the ODAC in blocked shots (1.6 bpg) has 24 of W&L’s 43 blocked shots on the season. First-year forward J.D. Ey is second on the team with four rejections.

Senior forward Ben Goetsch is one of only two players in the ODAC to be ranked in the Top 6 in both scoring and rebounding. Ben is currently sixth in the league in scoring (17.4 ppg) and second in rebounding (9.6). Joining him in the Top 6 in both categories is Guilford’s 6-10 senior center Tyler Sanborn. Other Generals among the league’s best in category or another include junior guard Jason Cimino, who is second in the ODAC in both assists (4.0 apg) and assist/turnover ratio (2.15). Senior forward, who Zac White is third in the league in blocks as mentioned above, also ranks in the Top 20 in the conference in scoring (12.4 ppg) and rebounding (5.4 rpg).

W&L is ranked third in the league with a +1.07 assist/turnover ratio as a team and is one of just six teams in the ODAC with a positive ratio. W&L averages 15.7 turnovers per game, but over their last four contests, the Generals have committed an average of 20.5 turnovers, including a season-high 29 against Lynchburg. As the turnovers mount, so do the losses, as the Generals have a 1-3 record in their four last games.