Tigers Stage Upset: Hampden-Sydney beats No. 1 team

Published 12:13 am Wednesday, December 20, 2023

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It wasn’t even close. That was one of the best parts for the Hampden-Sydney Tigers. They went on the road, faced off against No. 1 ranked and previously unbeaten John Carroll University on Tuesday night and dominated.

The Tigers picked up the 85-67 win with the help of senior Davidson Hubbard, who scored a career-high and game high 31 points, while team captain Adam Brazil added 21. Playing in University Heights, Ohio, the 9-1 Tigers led at halftime 34-31 against the host Blue Streaks, who came in with a perfect eight game winning streak. 

H-SC took advantage of a 33-12 run to close the first half (16-4) and open the second half (17-8) in the NCAA Division III men’s basketball Top 10 contest. It was the Tigers’ second win this season against D3’s top-ranked team, including the 74-53 season-opening home win past defending national champion and preseason No. 1 Christopher Newport on November 8.

“Great road win!” said Hampden-Sydney Head Coach Caleb Kimbrough. “This trip was a lot of fun with the guys. We got to see an overtime Cleveland Cavs game and then went out and took care of business on the court. I thought we had really been tested in our previous games which helped us in today’s game. The guys stayed with the game plan and stayed composed against their pressure. Once we found what worked offensively, things really opened up for us. Great way to go into this Christmas break.”

Breaking down the game

Hampden-Sydney fell behind 4-0 early before taking a 9-8 lead at 14:54 behind five quick points by Hubbard, including a three-point field goal. JCU led 12-9 with 12:15 on the clock after a layup from Luke Chicone, but the Tigers were ahead 18-16 at 8:01 following a fast break layup by Hubbard.

The Blue Streaks seemed to take some control on their home floor with an 11-0 run to go in front 27-18 with just 3:58 left in the half, getting eight-straight points from Frazier. Hampden-Sydney, however, battled back and closed the opening 20 minutes with a 16-4 run to lead 34-31 at the intermission. The Tigers were sparked down the stretch by Brazil and Clements with six points each, including back-to-back three-pointers by Brazil and a baseline drive and two-handed slam dunk by Clements.

Hampden-Sydney continued its momentum to begin the second half with a jumper by Hubbard to lead 36-31 at 19:49, and the visitors extended the half-opening run to 17-8 to lead 51-39 with 11:53 remaining. Overall, it was a 33-12 run over the two halves to give control of the contest to the Tigers. 

Clements, Brazil and senior Alex Elliott each connected on three-pointers, along with six points from Hubbard, as well. JCU was no closer than 10 points over the remainder of the game: 51-41, 53-43 and 55-45, the latter at 9:53. A quick 7-0 run with five points by Hubbard, including a three-pointer, made it 62-45 with 8:21 left, and the Garnet & Grey led 69-49 at 6:24 after a drive to basket by Brazil that followed his own two free throws after another three-ball from Hubbard.

The visitors led 73-55 at 4:35 following a slam dunk by Hubbard off a lob pass from Brazil … and it was 83-63 at 1:11 when Clements assisted Hubbard on another dunk. The Tigers secured the outcome with 12-12 free throws in the second half, including 6-6 over the final 4:26 as the Blue Streaks lost for the first time this season.

Hampden-Sydney, by the numbers

Hubbard led H-SC with his career-high and game-high 31 points (13-23 FGs, 3-9 3FGS, 2-2 FTs), adding his game-high nine rebounds, along with three assists and two steals. Brazil finished with his 21 points for the Tigers, adding four assists. Clements contributed his 11 points, adding a game-high five assists. Elliott had seven points, five rebounds and a game-high three steals.

Senior team captain Josiah Hardy added six points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals, while fifth-year Chase Turner had four points and three rebounds, along with an outstanding defensive effort, as well. H-SC shot 50% (31-62) from the field, including 43% (9-21) on three-pointers, and was a perfect 100% (14-14) at the free throw line.

Frazier led JCU with his 19 points, adding a game-high three steals. Will Yontek added 14 points and six rebounds for the Blue Streaks. Chicone finished with 12 points and a game-high five assists, and Henry Raynor contributed 11 points. JCU shot 46% (26-57) from the field, including just 13% (2-16) on three-pointers, and 57% (13-23) at the line.

What’s next for Hampden-Sydney? 

The Tigers will break for the Christmas holiday before hosting Salisbury (MD) University on December 30 at 2 p.m. in S. Douglas Fleet Gymnasium at Kirby Field House.