Hampden-Sydney advances in NCAA Tournament with Friday win

Published 2:34 am Saturday, March 4, 2023

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HAMPDEN SYDNEY – Long before the game actually started, you could feel the atmosphere build at Kirby Field House. It was standing room only, but even for those who had a seat, they were barely in them. Alumni combined with current students and members of the community to cheer on the Hampden-Sydney Tigers, as the team played its first NCAA Division 3 Tournament game in a decade. 

That support was rewarded, as the Tigers beat Emory (GA) University 63-59. Junior Adam Brazil led the way for Hampden-Sydney with 18 points, including the go-ahead three-point shot with 2:55 remaining. Senior Ryan Clements added 14 points for the Tigers (22-6), while junior Davidson Hubbard put in eight points and a game-high 13 rebounds. The Emory Eagles (17-9) were led by Benjamin Pearce, who scored a game-high 19 points.

And the crowd fed on every goal. They cheered every shot, argued every foul and at times, questioned if the referees could see. 

“Wow, what an environment tonight,” said Tigers fourth-year head coach Caleb Kimbrough. “The guys showed amazing grit against a very talented and well-coached Emory team. Quick turnaround, looking forward to another battle tomorrow. Love this team!” 

Breaking down the game 

Hampden-Sydney, ranked No. 20 in this week’s D3hoops.com Top 25, fell behind 3-0 early as EU connected on a three-pointer during the opening minute. However, the Tigers quickly answered, going on a 23-9 run to lead 23-12 at 10:06. 

Seven different players contributed for the Garnet & Grey, including a pair of three-pointers off the bench by sophomore Ayman McGowan, while Brazil and Clements each had four points. The Eagles battled back with a 15-4 run to tie the contest at 29-29 with 1:49 on the first-half clock. Clements added another basket during the final minute to provide the home team with a 31-29 lead at halftime. 

H-SC pushed the lead to 34-29 early in the second half at 19:30 after three quick points by Clements, but EU responded with five of their own from Pearce, to tie it at 34-34 with 18:21 remaining. The lead then changed six times and it was tied twice before the Garnet & Grey took a 52-49 advantage at 7:56 as Hubbard scored four quick points, including a pair of free throws. 

Hampden-Sydney led 56-52 following two free throws by Brazil with 4:38 on the clock, and the margin was 58-55 after a basket in the lane from Brazil at 3:41. The Eagles tied it at 58-58 with 3:24 left after another three-pointer by Pearce, but Brazil put the Tigers ahead for good at 61-58 with a deep three-pointer at 2:55.

 An EU free throw made it 61-59 at 2:41, and Brazil secured the outcome by making two free throws with just 2.5-seconds remaining. Overall, the game featured nine lead changes and was tied nine times over the 40 minutes, though H-SC led for 28:35 on the night.

What’s next for Hampden-Sydney? 

With the win, Hampden-Sydney advances to the second round of the D3 NCAA Tournament. The Tigers will face off at home against nationally-ranked No. 2 Christopher Newport on Saturday night, after the Captains (25-3) beat Farmingdale State (BY) College 61-60 in the other first round game held Friday in Prince Edward County. 

Tip-off is set for 7:20 p.m., with tickets going on sale at Kirby Field House beginning at 4 p.m. Officials caution that tickets will be on a first-come, first-serve basis, so if you want to go to the game, you’ll need to be in line early. 

If you can’t make it in person, there’s a number of other ways to watch or listen. The game will also be broadcast and can be heard locally on WVHL Radio, Kickin’ Country 92.9 FM, pregame airing at 7 p.m., and will also be available worldwide on the Internet at wvhl.net or via the TuneIn Radio App, while available to watch as well at hscathletics.com.