LYNCHBURG, Va.- The WildCat men's basketball team faced off against Mary Washington on the second day of the Wayne Proffitt Classic held at the University of Lynchburg, Randolph kept pace with the Eagles for most of the game but UMW was too much in the end as they won by the score of 75-66.
The loss evens Randolph's record at 4-4. Mary Washington improves to 4-2.
The WildCats fell behind 4-0 early in the first half before registering their first basket on a three from Brian Smith (Dumfries, Va./C.D. Hylton). The Eagles would go on to lead 11-6 with 13:39 showing on the clock before Tremaine Pugh (Charlotte Court House, Va./Randolph Henry) scored back-to-back baskets for the 'Cats to close to 11-10.
UMW went back up by five points, 17-12, with just over 10 minutes remaining in the half but a 9-0 run by the Wildcats, with back-to-back-to-back three point buckets from Sammy Hooper (Richmond, Va./Midlothian) and Mike Osborne (Floyd, Va./Floyd County), staked Randolph to a 21-17 lead at 8:17. The Eagles answered to tie the game up twice and took a 27-25 lead with 3:41 remaining. Consecutive free throws from CJ Loving (Madison Heights, Va./Amherst County), Elijah Ford (Chantilly, Va./Chantilly), and Smith gave Randolph a 30-27 lead with 2:20 left. After the Eagles tied it yet again, a free throw by Smith and a layup from Hooper gave Randolph a 33-30 lead at halftime.
In the second half, UMW tied the score on a three-point basket by Dashawn Cook but two layups from Smith put Randolph up 37-33. The WildCats were ahead 42-38 but a 7-0 Eagle run put UMW ahead 45-42. With Mary Washington's lead sitting at 49-43 with 11:37 to play, a 9-1 'Cat run gave Randolph a 52-50 lead at 9:05.
The Eagles put together a 10-0 run for their biggest lead of the afternoon, 60-52, with 6:16 remaining. The WildCats rallied to cut the advantage to 60-57 with 5:22 left. The game was still within reach for Randolph to claim the win as the score stood at 64-60 with 3:08 to play. The Eagles put up five points to extend their lead to 69-60 with 2:01 left and the deficit was too much to overcome for Randolph as UMW claimed the victory.
"I thought we executed and focused much better today than our previous three games," said head coach Pete Hamilton after the game. "Although it got away from us and we didn't quite make enough plays in the last five minutes, we can build off the effort and execution today and put ourselves in great positions moving forward."
Hooper and Smith both had 17 points to lead Randolph. Hooper also picked up five rebounds and two steals with Smith adding six rebounds, two assists, and four steals. Justin Dula (Taylorsville, N.C./Alexander Central) tallied 10 points, nine rebounds, four assists, one steal, and one block.
Mary Washington had the edge in shooting as it was 28-of-63 (44.4%) to Randolph's 20-of-64 (31.3%). Rebounds went in the Eagles' favor 40-36. The WildCats were able to turn 19 Eagle turnovers into 16 points.
"I'm proud of guys like Tremaine Pugh, Brandon Schlick and Mike Osborne for stepping into roles to give us some short bursts off the bench," said Hamilton. "Those aren't the easiest positions to succeed in unless you really are playing for your team. We got pressured into a few quick shots but for the most part I think our offense got us a lot of looks we wanted and we just have to find ways to capitalize."
Randolph is back in action on Saturday December 8 as it travels to Bridgewater for an ODAC contest. The WildCats defeated the Eagles November 25 at the RAD Center 74-73. Game time will be at 4:30 p.m.