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WildCats Denied by Diplomats

Elijah Ford dribbling
Elijah Ford scored seven points and had a team-high eight rebounds on the night.

LANCASTER, Pa.- The Randolph men's basketball team returned to the hardwood on Friday night as they participated in the Spounagle New Year's Tournament hosted by Franklin and Marshall. The Diplomats used some stellar shooting to defeat the WildCats 78-53.

F&M advances to play Delaware Valley in the championship at 4:00 p.m. tomorrow. Randolph will face Hartwick in the consolation at 2:00 p.m.

On the night, the Diplomats shot 26-of-45 (57.8%) from the floor to 17-of-58 (29.3%) for the 'Cats. F&M also controlled the boards with a 43-30 advantage and led in points in the paint, 32-20.

The two teams duked it out in the beginning stages of the first half as the score was tight through over 11 minutes of game time. Randolph cut the F&M lead to one point, 15-14, with 8:39 remaining in the first half after a three-point basket by Brian Smith (Dumfries, Va./C D Hylton). From there, the WildCat offense went cold as the Diplomats went on a 11-0 run with all the points supplied by Brandon Federici. A layup by Elijah Ford and subsequent free throw following a foul made it 26-17. The WildCats were able to get the score to 28-21 with 2:11 remaining in the half but five straight points by the Diplomats staked the home team to a 33-21 advantage at the break.

In the second half, F&M rattled off eight straight points, all coming from Matt Redhead, to expand its lead to 41-21. A three-point shot by Sammy Hooper (Richmond, Va./Midlothian) sliced to deficit to 17 points but it would be as close as the WildCats could get as the Diplomats had a comfortable lead throughout the second half.

Hooper led the WildCats with 14 points, He added four rebounds. Smith, Ford, and Drew Hayden (Vinton, Va./William Byrd) all contributed seven points apiece. Ford had a team-high eight rebounds.