LYNCHBURG, Va.- Randolph men's basketball outscored visiting Hampden-Sydney 45-32 in the second half as the WildCats claimed a 73-59 victory over the Tigers on Wednesday night. The 'Cats shot 53% from the field in the second half to take down HS-C.
The victory ends Randolph four-game winless streak and improves its overall record to 7-10 and its ODAC record to 2-6. The Tigers fall to 4-10 overall and 1-6 in the conference.
"Certainly feels great to get one in the W column tonight," said head coach Pete Hamilton afterwards. "We've been putting together some pretty good things the past four games but have also had some lulls that have kept us from finishing the job. I'm proud of how the guys responded to what's been a tough January to this point."
The Tigers got out to a 5-0 lead early on in the first half but Randolph responded with a 9-0 run to take a 9-5 lead at the 15:36 mark. The Tigers would tie the contest up at 11-all at 11:07 but a three-point basket by Tremaine Pugh (Charlotte Court House, Va./Randolph Henry) gave the 'Cats their advantage back.
The WildCats had the lead until 3:04 was left on the clock as Hampden-Sydney scored on back-to-back baskets to go up 25-24. A free throw from Jerry Goodman (Suffolk, Va./Portsmouth Christian School) knotted it up at 25-25 and another Pugh three made it 28-25 with 34 seconds remaining. The Tigers' Warren Zager converted a layup to end the first half scoring and the WildCats nursed a one-point halftime lead.
In the second half, Randolph's lead expanded to five points with free throw shots from Sammy Hooper (Richmond, Va./Midlothian) and Justin Dula (Taylorsville, N.C./Alexander Central). It was part of a 16-6 run, with Hooper scoring 12 of those points, as the WildCats took their biggest lead of the night at 44-33.
The 'Cats continued to add to their lead throughout the half and would hold back any Tiger attempt at a comeback. It was an eight-point difference, 53-45, with 8:48 remaining to play and the Tigers hoped to claw their way back in. Randolph used a 13-2 to go ahead 66-47 with 4:34 left and ended any hope of an H-SC rally.
The teams finished even in shooting percentage at 42.4%. At the free throw line, Randolph converted 10-14 attempts to the Tigers' 5-of-6. Rebounds favored Randolph 41-34. The WildCats forced 16 Hampden-Sydney turnovers that they turned into 21 points. Randolph led 17-7 in second chance baskets.
Hooper scored 19 of his 25 points in the second half. He had a season-best seven assists and also grabbed six rebounds. Dula finished with 10 points. Pugh added a career-high 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting. Elijah Ford (Chantilly, Va./Chantilly) led in rebounds with seven and also blocked two shots.
"Sammy Hooper did a great job of brushing off a slow first half and really helped us take advantage of all the stops we were getting in the 2nd half," noted Hamilton. "19 second half points from him gave everyone energy and confidence."
"Tremaine Pugh has been working his tail off since the end of first semester," Hamilton said. "He's starting to learn more and more about what it takes but also how good he could be for this program. Offensively, he gave us a huge lift tonight but I think his effort and energy at the defensive end is something that isn't in the box score and that he also brought off the bench with him tonight."
The WildCats travel to #16 Randolph Macon to take on the first place Yellowjackets on Saturday. Game time from Ashland with be at 4:30 p.m.