LEXINGTON, Va. – The Washington and Lee men's basketball team survived a scoring drought of nearly six minutes during the second half of a 59-53 victory over Kenyon in the opening game of the W&L Tournament on Wednesday at the Warner Center.
The Generals (6-4) led 30-29 at the half, but the Lords (6-6) opened the second stanza with a quick 6-0 burst to assume a 35-30 lead just 1:20 into the period. Kenyon maintained a 39-34 lead at the 15:32 mark before a 15-1 run gave W&L a 49-40 lead with 9:55 left in the game.
First-year forward Andrew Franz (Charlotte, N.C. / Ravenscroft) got things started with a layup at the 15:06 mark and the Generals took the lead (40-39) just 1:15 later on a pair of free throws by sophomore forward Jim Etling (Loveland, Colo. / Loveland). First-year guard Darren Douglas (Elmsford, N.Y. / Rye Country Day) drilled a three-pointer at 13:11 for a 43-39 lead and junior guard Kevin Gill (Richmond, Va. / Benedictine) capped the surge with a jumper at the 9:55 mark for a nine-point (49-40) lead.
The Generals then went cold, however, failing to score for 5:38 of game time until Franz canned a pair of free throws with 3:54 left for a 51-46 lead. Douglas hit another three-pointer 45 seconds later to boost the W&L lead to eight points (54-56) with 3:09 left to play and the Generals then pulled away for an 11-point lead (59-48) with 21 seconds left in the game.
W&L never trailed in the first half, but led by no more than five points, hitting just 10-of-16 free throws and committing eight turnovers in the opening 20 minutes.
Franz was the only General to score in double figures, tying his career-high with 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting. He also grabbed six rebounds. Sophomore guard Javon McDonald (Schaumburg, Ill. / Schaumburg) tallied nine points on 7-of-8 shooting from the foul line, while Douglas scored the first eight points of his career. Sophomore guard Clay McLean (Charlotte, N.C. / Davidson Day) also added eight points in the contest.
Kenyon was paced by junior forward Ikenna Nwadibia's 14 points and nine rebounds. Junior forward Brian Lebowitz added 10 points, six rebounds, four blocks and three steals.
Washington and Lee will entertain Mary Washington in the second day of the W&L Tournament on Thursday at 4:00 pm.