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WildCat Men Fend Off Hawks 80-75 at Spounagle New Year’s Tournament

Brian Smith
Brian Smith scored a career-high 21 points for the WildCats.

LANCASTER, Pa.- Randolph men's basketball recovered from a lopsided loss last night to Franklin and Marshall to overtake Hartwick 80-75 in the consolation game of the Spounagle New Year's Tournament on Saturday afternoon. The win puts Randolph's record at 3-9 overall while the Hawks drop to 3-6.

The WildCats led by as much as 23 points in the first half. They led throughout the game despite a comeback by 'Wick.

The Hawks scored the game's first points on a three-pointer from Corey Baker for their only lead of game. Randolph took over from there as it went on a 23-0 run to sprint ahead 23-6 with 12:18 showing on the clock. The WildCats started the run with threes from Brian Smith (Dumfries, Va./C.D. Hylton), Sammy Hooper (Richmond, Va./Midlothian), and Reid Jacoby (Richmond, Va./Benedictine). Hartwick would go 0-for-8 from the field during that stretch and commit six turnovers.

The WIldCat lead stood at 32-9, its largest of the day, at the 7:17 mark of the first half. Hartwick did end on a 6-2 run to close out the frame and trail 43-24 going into the locker room.

Randolph continued its dominance in the second half. It was a 21-point lead for the 'Cats with 5:37 remaining to play. Hartwick stormed back with a 25-8 run to get to within five points of tying with just two seconds left. Hartwick fouled to get possession back. Jacoby missed both of his attempts but it was too late for the Hawks as the WildCats walked away with the victory.

The Wildcats shot 56.4% (31-of-55) from the floor for the afternoon. It was the team's second-best shooting performance of the season to date. The 10 three-point baskets made is tied for the most this year. Randolph also controlled the paint with a 34-16 advantage.  

"Extremely proud of the way all 18 guys responded today," said head coach Pete Hamilton after the game. "We were enthusiastic and excited to put the jerseys on after a less than ideal performance last night. Our guys deserve a lot of credit for mentally switching gears quickly to be ready from the jump this afternoon. Reid, Ryan, and Keion provided great leadership to turn our focus last night to getting a win today."

"I really feel like our bench and team atmosphere should be mentioned in the win," Hamilton added. "Our program has always been one of togetherness and our bench atmosphere has been an example of that over our last four to five games. Those things can result in a W and you never know when."

Four players reached double figures led by Smith's 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting. It was a career-high for him. He also added four rebounds, three assists, and three steals. Hooper put up 15 points while pulling down eight rebounds and dishing out five assists. He was named to the All-Tournament Team. Colton Lee (Raleigh, N.C./North Raleigh Christian Academy) contributed 13 points on 4-of-9 shooting in 22 minutes off the bench. Jacoby finished with 11 points, six assists, and two rebounds. Elijah Ford (Chantilly, Va./Chantilly) chipped in eight points and eight rebounds.

"Brian Smith has the talent to perform like he did every time out," noted Hamilton. "He's taken a step since his first year and I think he showed today that he's capable of taking a few more steps before his sophomore year is over. Not only did he make timely buckets for us, he guarded top scoring threats for Hartwick all game.

Randolph returns to the RAD center in the New Year when it hosts Randolph-Macon in ODAC play next Saturday January 6. Game time is set for 2:00 p.m.

It's a great way to head back into ODAC play," Hamilton noted. "There are still a lot of things we need improvement on but we were able to perform at a high level in most areas to make up for some mistakes in the last 8 minutes or so. This was close to how we can perform offensively on a nightly basis and it showed."