HAMPDEN-SYDNEY, Va.—Sophomore Jack Wyatt/Richmond scored a career-high 22 points, but Hampden-Sydney College dropped a hard-fought 75-70 non-conference basketball decision to Averett University on Wednesday night in S. Douglas Fleet Gymnasium. The host Tigers (0-1) were within a point on three occasions late in the season-opening contest against the Cougars (2-0), including at 69-68 with under a minute remaining, before the visitors secured the win with six free throws. AU was led by Montre' Cash with a near triple-double of 20 points, nine rebounds and nine assists.
"What a great environment tonight with all of the students and fans!" said first-year head coach Caleb Kimbrough. "I am really proud of the effort our team had tonight. We made several careless mistakes that we will clean up, but I think we took steps in the right direction. Averett made some big plays down the stretch and you have to commend them for that. There were many times we could have folded and we didn't. There were many positives in this game and we will be sure to build on those positives going into the weekend."
H-SC started fast against AU, jumping out to an early 17-7 advantage at 11:31 behind 10 quick points from Wyatt and five points from junior Jake Hahn/Ruckersville. The Tigers still led 21-13 at 8:59, as senior Chaise Johnson/Richmond added four free throws. The Cougars, however, closed the opening half on a 17-3 run to lead 30-24 at the intermission. Wyatt had 12 first-half points for the hosts, while Timothy Henry and Vince Contreras each scored seven points during the opening 20 minutes for AU.
The Cougars continued their momentum to start the second half, increasing the margin to 38-32 at 15:03 on a three-pointer by Contreras. H-SC battled back to within 44-41 at 11:32 after a steal and layup by freshman Ryan Clements/Conyers, Ga. that followed five quick points from Johnson. AU pushed its advantage back to nine points at 55-46 with 7:58 remaining, but the Tigers fought back with eight unanswered points to close to within 55-54 at 6:01 after a layup by Wyatt. Hahn started the run with a layup of his own, followed by 1-2 free throws, before Clements made a three-point field goal ahead of Wyatt's basket inside.
The visitors led 66-58 at 3:50, but H-SC once-again rallied back—using a quick 10-3 run to get to within 69-68 with 22-seconds on the clock. Johnson started and ended the outburst with three-pointers, while Wyatt added two more scores down low. AU, however, secured its road win with 6-6 free throws over the final 19 seconds.
Wyatt led H-SC with his career-high and game-high 22 points, including 11-17 field goals, adding four rebounds. Johnson finished with 17 points for the Tigers, including 5-5 free throws, adding four assists. Hahn contributed 13 points and six rebounds, while Clements had seven points, a game-high 12 rebounds and six assists. Senior Kevin Quinn/Apex, N.C. added eight points and two steals. The Tigers shot 52% (28-54) from the field, including 39% (5-13) on three-pointers, and 64% (9-14) at the free throw line. H-SC enjoyed a 40-24 scoring advantage in the paint.
Cash led AU with his 20 points, adding nine rebounds and a game-high nine assists. Isaiah Jones finished with 16 points for the Cougars, while Contreras added 15 points and Henry had 13 points. AU shot 41% (27-66) from the field, including 39% (9-23) on three-pointers, and 75% (12-16) at the line. The visitors enjoyed advantages of 25-9 in points off turnovers, 23-4 in second chance points and 22-3 in bench scoring.
H-SC will travel to Lynchburg this weekend, Nov. 16-17, to participate in the Wayne Proffitt Classic hosted by the University of Lynchburg. The Tigers will play Methodist (N.C.) on Saturday, Nov. 16, at 4 p.m., before facing Pfeiffer (N.C.) on Sunday, Nov. 17, at 1 p.m.