HAMPDEN-SYDNEY, VA – A day after facing an unbeaten team, Hopkins faced another tough task in host Hampden-Sydney, which boasted a 10-1 record and had won eight straight. The home team prevailed in a 73-58 decision in the final game of the Bojangles Holiday Challenge on Sunday afternoon. The Blue Jays fall to 5-5 on the season while the Tigers improve to 11-1.
It was a back-and-forth game early as the teams traded buckets over the opening four minutes. But a quick five-point burst by Hampden-Sydney gave the Tigers an 11-7 lead with 15:09 to go in the half. Hopkins answered with a bucket from senior Alex Pandrangi and a pair of free throws from sophomore Jimmy Hammer to make it a one-point game at the 11-minute mark.
The Tigers would come right back, pushing their lead to as much as nine with 4:30 to play in the half off a Leon Hargrove layup at 4:30. Sophomore George Bugarinovic got the Blue Jays going with a jumper off a Hammer helper on the next possession as JHU made it a 29-25 game with 1:17 on the clock. But a Mike Murray bucket from downtown with time winding down gave the home team a 32-25 lead at the break.
Hopkins kept at HSC coming out of the half, twice getting to within three on buckets by senior Mike Rhoads. But each time, the Tigers had an answer in Harrison George and Murray. Bugarinovic converted a fast break layup to make it a 37-33 game with 16:51 on the clock, but the Tigers answered with a 10-0 run to take a 12-point lead. Hammer halted the run with a four-point play after Keegan Wetzel fouled him on a bucket from downtown. But that's as close as Hopkins could get over the final 10 minutes, as Hampden-Sydney would push its advantage to as much as 20 before taking the 15-point win.
Rhoads led the Blue Jays with 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting to earn all-tournament team accolades, while Bugarinovic and Hammer each chipped in 11 points. Hammer also dished out a career-high five assists and swiped two steals. George led all scorers with 21 points for the Tigers and Murray and Williamson each added 10. Murray dished out a game-high six assists with two steals, while George had four helpers as well.
Hopkins returns to action on Wednesday, January 2 with the annual Blue Jay Invitational. Hopkins will face Eastern in the second game of the day, with tip off set for 7:00 pm at Goldfarb Gym. Susquehanna and Marymount will square off in the first game, set for 5:00 pm.