LYNCHBURG, Va.- Five Randolph players reached double figures as Randolph men's basketball shot a season-best 64.1% from the floor in defeating Shenandoah 100-72 on Saturday afternoon at the RAD Center. The 100 points scored by Randolph is just the second time in program history that it has been achieved and the first time since 2007. It is also the first time it has been done over a conference opponent.
The win lifts the 'Cats record to 8-12 overall and 3-8 in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference. SU drops to 5-14 and 1-9 in the conference.
Four of the WildCats' starting five got into double figures led by Sammy Hooper's (Richmond, Va./Midlothian) 18 points. He added five assists and four rebounds.
Hooper got it started for the 'Cats with a three 14 seconds into the game to give Randolph a 3-0 lead. Shenandoah answered with a three of their own 20 seconds later. Randolph would jump ahead 9-5 thanks to a 6-2 run.
The Hornets tied it up at 11-all at 13:47 but Drew Hayden (Vinton, Va./William Byrd) sank a three to put Randolph ahead 14-11. That was part of a 7-0 run that increased the WildCats' advantage to 18-11 with 12:17 remaining in the half. SU would make it a one-possession game, 22-20, with 8:41 left in the half and a 13-2 'Cats spurt increased their lead to 35-22 with under six minutes left. SU got as close as eight points with 5:13 to go until the break but a 12-4 WildCat run gave the home team a 47-31 lead at the half.
In the second half, Shenandoah's Christopher Chaney scored consecutive layups to start the period to cut Randolph's lead to 47-35. The Hornets didn't let up as they got as close as nine points of tying, 54-45, with 14:08 showing on the game clock. It was a 10-point deficit that grew to 18 as the WildCats ran off an 8-0 run.
The 'Cats continued to put up three-point shots as baskets from Hayden and Brandon Schlick (Virginia Beach, Va./Greenbrier Christian) gave Randolph an 83-58 lead with 5:16 remaining. The WildCat lead grew to as much as 29 points with 3:36 left in part to a 12-4 run. The 100th point came on an AJ Marshall (Lake Mary, Fla./Lake Mary Prep) layup with 28 ticks remaining.
Elijah Ford (Chantilly, Va./Chantilly) was a rebound short of a double-double as he put up a season-best15 points and nine rebounds. Brian Smith (Dumfries, Va./C.D. Hylton) was 5-of-6 from the floor for 14 points to go with six assists, three rebounds, and two steals. Hayden finished with a season-high 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting in 15 minutes off the bench. Justin Dula (Taylorsville, N.C./Alexander Central) chipped in 11 points and hit on all five of his shot attempts. "Elijah and Justin gave us an incredible lift from the jump," stated head coach Pete Hamilton after the game. "Those two guys are pivotal in our success - it brings everyone else confidence when they can play with the activity they did tonight at both ends."
"Our guys deserve a lot of credit for how they've handled this week," said Hamilton. "Tonight was a product of how much our guys value each other. To have five guys in double figures, 21 team assists and out rebound a team by 16 is a product of working for one another."
The WildCats only went to the charity stripe seven times but made six of their attempts for a season-high 85.7%. Randolph controlled the glass 39-23 and totaled a season-best 21 assists. The 'Cats dominated in the paint 56-42 and had a strong showing from the bench as it outscored Shenandoah's 42-26.
"We prepared for tonight with a focus to try and play with a 15 second shot clock on Shenandoah misses or turnovers," said Hamilton. "72 of our 100 points came within the first 15 seconds of the shot clock. Great job sticking to the pace we aimed for by our guys. We've got work left to do."
Next up for Randolph is a match up with Eastern Mennonite on Wednesday night. Game time will be at 7:00 p.m. from the RAD Center.