W&L Men's Basketball Notes - Week 1

W&L Men's Basketball Notes - Week 1

Game 1: W&L (0-0) vs. Tufts (0-0)
Date: Friday, November 16, 6:00 pm
Location: Newark, N.J.
Series Record: Tufts leads, 2-0

Game 2: W&L (0-0) vs. TBA
Date: Saturday, November 17, 2 or 4 pm
Location: Newark, N.J.

Game Notes

LAST TIME OUT  •   NO. 7 VIRGINIA WESLEYAN 87, W&L 63 (2/24/12)
Washington and Lee saw its 2011-12 season end with an 87-63 loss to Virginia Wesleyan in the quarterfinal round of the ODAC Tournament at the Salem Civic Center. The top-seeded and seventh-ranked Marlins (23-3) shot 52.3 percent from the floor (34-65), including 55.0 percent (11-20) from beyond the arc in posting its 23rd-straight win over the Generals (13-24). W&L, seeded ninth, scored the first two points of the game, by forward J.D. Ey, but VWC ripped off six straight to take a 6-2 lead at the 17:05 mark. W&L trailed 11-6 following a pair of free throws by guard Clay McClean, but the Marlins reeled off a 13-2 scoring run, led by six points from guard Art Crew and five points from forward Chris Astorga to assume a 24-8 lead with 12:07 left in the opening half. The Generals trimmed their deficit to 13 points (26-13) at the 10:18 mark on a three-point play from forward Larry Whitaker, but VWC quickly pushed back out to a 20-point lead and went into the break with a 19-point advantage (45-26). In the second period, the Marlins extended to a 24-point lead by scoring seven of the half's first nine points, capped by an Astorga dunk at the 18:12 mark. The Generals once again managed to trim their deficit to 13 points (54-41) with 13:18 left to play, but a 15-5 Marlin spurt ended any comeback hopes for the Generals. Whitaker paced W&L with 20 points on 9-of-15 shooting, while also notching seven rebounds. Guard Kevin Gill added 14 points, including 3-of-4 shooting from deep, and center Taylor Gilfillan chipped in 10 points and eight boards. Astorga led all scorers with 23 points and guard Chris Teasley added 15 points and guard DJ Woodmore netted 12 point and seven helpers. Guard Tre' Ford totaled eight points, eight rebounds and six assists.

LAST TIME AGAINST TUFTS  •  TUFTS 80, W&L 74 (11/20/94)
Washington and Lee last played the Jumbos in its second game of the 1994-95 season. The Generals hosted Tufts as part of the W&L Tip-Off Tournament. The Jumbos took a 38-33 lead into halftime, and outscored the Generals, 42-41, in the second to secure the 80-74 victory. Tufts relied on three players who accounted for 70 of the team's 80 points. Chris McMahon lead all players with 26 and Chad Onofrio and Eric Emmert each had 22. For the Generals, Mark Connelly led the team with 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting and eight rebounds. Cam Dyer recorded a double-double with 14 points and 10 boards, and Jon Coffman netted 13 points.

The Jumbos are coming off a 16-9 season, which ended with a 57-54 loss against Bates in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Tournament quarterfinals. Tufts ended the season on a four-game losing streak after starting the year 16-5.  Senior forward Scott Anderson, a Second-Team All-NESCAC honoree, and sophomore guard Ben Ferris, the NESCAC Rookie of the Year, return as the top offensive threats. Anderson averaged 12.6 points and 6.6 rebounds per game in 2011-12, while starting all 25 games. Ferris scored 9.6 ppg, grabbed 5.1 rpg, while also totaling 34 steals in 24 games. The Jumbos shot 45.6 percent (691-1,517) from the field, while averaging 74.4 ppg. The Jumbos hold a 2-0 advantage in the all-time series with the Generals.  

In 2011-12, the Bulldogs ended the season 19-10, after losing in the championship game, 88-77, of the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III Metro Men's Basketball Tournament to Mount Saint Mary. Brooklyn was knocked out of the City University of New York Athletic Conference (CUNYAC) Tournament in the quarterfinals by York, 79-73, in overtime. Brooklyn lost its top two scorers from last season to graduation in Tyshawn Russell (22.1 ppg) and Amil John (17.3 ppg).  Each player started all 29 games at guard. The Bulldogs averaged 75.2 points per game and forced 23.4 turnovers. This would be potentially the first meeting between Brooklyn and W&L.

The Scarlet Raiders finished last season 14-13 overall, and were knocked out of the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Tournament by Kean, 55-53. Rutgers-Newark ended its season at the ECAC Metro Tournament with a loss to Brooklyn in the first round. Sophomore Christian Garcia, the NJAC Co-Rookie of the Year, is the team's top returning scorer at 11.2 points per game. He also grabbed 5.5 rebounds per game and had 32 steals. Senior Al'Don Muhammad is the team's best distributer, following 140 assists last year for a 5.4 per game average. He also led the team with 34 steals and averaged 10.3 ppg. The team posted 70.7 points per game last year, but lost but lost two of its top four scorers to graduation. This would be potentially the first meeting between Rutgers-Newark and W&L.

Adam Hutchinson (Amherst, '93) is entering his 10th season as the head coach at Washington and Lee. He has led W&L to a 99-135 (.423) record. Last season, Hutchinson passed Harry (Cy) Young for second all-time in coaching wins at W&L. The 2008 ODAC Coach of the Year, Hutchinson led his 2009 team to the ODAC Championship game for the first time since 1989. With one more win, 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 132-201 (.396).

Under coach Adam Hutchinson, the Generals are 5-4 in their season-opening games. The team is 4-1 when its opens at home, 1-2 on the road and 0-1 in neutral-site contests. W&L has won its last four season-openers with the last loss on opening-night coming at Drew in overtime, 57-55, on November 16, 2007. With the team opening on a neutral court this season, this will be only the second time it has happened under coach Hutchinson. The previous came on November 20, 2004 at the NYU Tipoff Tournament. W&L dropped an 85-61 game to Nazareth. The Generals began last season at Dickinson and came away with a 69-67 victory.

Senior forward J.D. Ey, a Second Team All-ODAC selection last season, makes his presence felt in the scorebook and on the glass. He led the ODAC last season with nine double doubles, and surpassed Ben Goetsch '10 for the most double doubles in a season (8) under Coach Hutchinson. Ey now has 13 in his career. He averaged 12.6 points per game last year and a conference-leading 9.0 rebounds per game. He became the first General to average at least nine rebounds per game since Skip Lichtfuss averaged 9.9 boards per game in the 1973-74 season.

Sophomore Javon McDonald certainly made an impact in his first season with the Generals that will have opponents preparing for how to stop the 5-9 guard. McDonald totaled 318 points in 27 games for 11.8 ppg. He led all first-year players in the ODAC in points, and became the highest-scoring rookie at W&L since Greg Bienemann scored 290 (in 25 games) points as a first-year player in 2004-05. Bienemann went on to score 1,573 points in his four-year career. McDonald also led the Generals in both 3FGA (132) and 3FGM (50), and made one triple in 22 of 27 games overall.

Last season if the Generals grabbed more rebounds or dished out more assists than their opponents, they were almost unbeatable. W&L was a perfect 10-0 when it had more assists than the opposition, and finished the year 11-2 when it secured more boards. The only two losses came at Bridgewater, 81-78, and at home against Eastern Mennonite, 70-53.

Despite playing in the same frontcourt as J.D. Ey, junior forward Larry Whitaker showcased his ability to clean the glass and score buckets for W&L. Whitaker averaged 9.8 points per game on 48.4 percent (90-186) from the field and 7.4 rebounds per game. He led or tied for the lead in scoring in four games and in rebounds in 11 contests. He recorded a season-high 21 points at Shenandoah on November 22, and grabbed a season-high 13 rebounds at Bridgewater on February 11.  

Defending the rim turned into a habit for W&L last season as the squad blocked 107 shots. The total set a new single-season program record since blocks became an official NCAA stat during the 1985-86 season. The previous high came in the 2009-10 season, when the Generals rejected 99 shots led by Zac White's 55. J.D. Ey led the ODAC and the 2011-12 team with 62 blocked shots,  which surpassed White's single-season record. Before the block became an official NCAA stat, Rob Smitherman swatted 74 shots in the 1978-79 season. White, Smitherman and Ey are all tied for the single-game block record (7) at W&L.

The Generals will get used to riding a bus early this season with seven of their first nine games coming away from the Warner Center. After opening the season with two games at the Rutgers-Newark Tournament on November 16 & 17, W&L will play at Methodist on November 20 and at Shenandoah on November 24. The Blue & White hosts Randolph on December 1 to open ODAC play, and then make a quick trip to Ferrum on December 3. The team returns home on December 5 to face Averett, and ends 2011 at the Daytona Beach Shootout against Bates on December 19 and against Marymount (Va.) on December 21. The Generals went 6-8 on the road last season and 1-1 in neutral-site contests.

In the ODAC preseason poll, the Generals were picked eighth out of 12 teams. Defending league champion Virginia Wesleyan garnered the top spot with 11 of the 12 first-place votes and 121 points. Hampden-Sydney was picked second with 109 points. Randolph-Macon received the other first-place vote and 99 points to take the third spot. Guilford (87) and Randolph (72) complete the Top 5. Eastern Mennonite was picked sixth (69) and Lynchburg (67) just edged the Generals for seventh. Following W&L was Bridgewater (30), Emory & Henry (30), Roanoke (30) and league newcomer Shenandoah (14).

W&L enters the season with five first-year players looking to make their mark and provide depth for the Generals. The class is comprised of two guards and three forwards. The two new guards are Franklin Wolfe and Darren Douglas. Wolfe played his high school basketball at Sanderson and is from Raleigh, N.C., while Douglas, who calls Elmsford, N.Y. home, competed at Rye Country Day. For the front-court players, John Martin hails from Huntsville, Ala., and completed his prep career at Randolph. Jok Asiyo, from Stroudsburg, Pa., competed at Pocono Mountain East, and Andrew Franz, a Charlotte, N.C. native, laced up his sneakers for Ravenscroft.   

Washington and Lee has made it a habit of knocking off some 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 five seasons. Last year, it was a 78-56 win over then-21st-ranked Randolph-Macon. That accumen for defeating ranked foes may come in handy as W&L battles a difficult schedule that features a home game with preseason No. 2 Virginia Wesleyan, a game at 24th-ranked Randolph-Macon and a home contest versus 25th-ranked Hampden-Sydney.

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