For immediate release – 2/10/2016 - #183
Defense and Clutch Shooting Propel WildCats to Win in Crosstown Rivalry
LYNCHBURG, VA – The Randolph College men's basketball team held Lynchburg College to 33.3% shooting for the game, on the way to winning the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) rivalry game 61-58 on Wednesday night. Josh Freund and Zach Desgain also hit key baskets in the final minutes to help preserve the win.
The game started very tightly for both teams, as only eight total points were scored in the first four minutes. Rhyle Scott and Desgain had the four for Randolph, while Alex Graves tallied four for Lynchburg. The two teams traded points over the next couple of minutes, but with less than 11 minutes left in the half, the scoreboard only read 9-8 in favor of the WildCats.
However, the scoring picked up over the remainder of the half. Omar Kemp made an old-fashioned three-point play to start it off, giving the Hornets the lead. Ryan Fields answered for the home side with two straight tough baskets. Zach Burnett hit from distance to take back the LC advantage, but it would only last 25 seconds, as Scott made his second shot of the game.
This sent the 'Cats on a run. Reid Jacoby converted a layup, which Freund followed shortly after. Seth Wimbish hit two free throws before Freund extended the lead to 23-14 with 4:30 left. Lynchburg responded with five of the next seven, but Randolph answered with another burst as Freund and Fields combined for five straight. LC hit two free throws over the remaining time, but Desgain knocked down a three and Evan Horn made a strong layup, giving the WildCats a 35-21 advantage at the intermission. The lead was helped by stellar defense, and the ability to take charges as Randolph took three.
The 'Cats came out in the second with a strong effort, pushing the advantage to 15. However, the Hornets would not go away quietly in this rivalry. Kemp, Burnett, and Graves combined for 12 of the next 14 points, cutting the deficit to 40-35. After a timeout, Sammy Hooper cut it even further for the visitors, after he hit two from the charity stripe.
With Randolph up only three with 12:53 left, the rest of the game proved to be a tough battle. Freund had a tip in before LC tied the game at 10:35. The tie would be short lived, as Desgain finished an and-one and Scott made another jumper. But LC tied the score one more time at 47-all with 6:53 remaining.
Corey Brown then hit a big jumper, which Freund followed with one from the line. Kemp answered with two from the line, before Horn scored five huge points, including a three off a Freund kick out. Burnett hit his own with 2:41 left, putting the score at 55-52 in favor of the hosts.
With the lead at three, Freund and Desgain each hit the big shots, with the lead extending to seven with 1:30 in the game. Graves scored down the other end, cutting it to five. Following multiple timeouts, the teams traded free throws, right before the defenses picked up their play.
Burnett then brought Lynchburg within two points after making a difficult three with 13 seconds left. After the WildCats made one of two from the line, Burnett still had a chance to tie it. However, Fields was all over him, and forced a difficult shot that was off target, giving Randolph the win.
Freund and Desgain led the WildCats with 13 points apiece. Horn scored a season-high 10 points, while Fields added eight points and eight rebounds. Desgain led the 'Cats with nine rebounds. The team also shot an impressive 47.1% for the game.
Burnett scored a game-high 21 points for the Hornets (16-6 overall, 9-4 ODAC). Graves finished with 17, while Kemp had a game-high 10 rebounds, to go with eight points.
Randolph (12-10, 6-7) will play its final regular-season road game on Saturday. The WildCats head to Eastern Mennonite University (8-11, 5-8) for a 3 p.m. tipoff. The 'Cats currently sit one place above EMU for eighth-place in the conference.