Photo by Matt Hembree (C’20)
By Harry Davis
On Saturday, November 18, the Sewanee Men’s Basketball team defeated the Washington and Lee Generals 96-79 at home to begin the Lon Varnell Classic, an annual event that brings other D-III teams to Sewanee to kick off the season.
The Tigers started off the season with a tough loss to Emory and Henry 80-70 after a career night by Adrian Thomas (C’20). Thomas lead the Tigers in points (31) and rebounds (six). Sewanee struggled with fouls in the first half, leading to Emory and Henry making 14 of 16 free throws, which put the Tigers behind 42-30 at the end of the half.
Next up were the Washington and Lee Generals, who had 13 wins and 15 losses last year. This was the first game of the season for the Generals who ended last year on a run, winning five of their last six games.
Washington and Lee started off scoring with two quick baskets to make the score 5-0 less than two minutes into the half. After settling into the game, Sewanee began to make baskets as both sides switched leads until about eight minutes left in the first half.
Thomas made a free throw to bring the score to 28-26 before Sewanee began to hit their stride. Sewanee started to drive to the basket hard, making five layups on a run that put the Tigers up 41-28 with 2:41 to play in the half. Hunter Buescher (C’19) made a jump shot with three seconds left to play to bring the score at halftime to 48-34.
Sewanee had a solid first half as they settled into the game. They finished the half with a 60 percent field goal percentage as Washington and Lee shooting struggled at 42.9 percent.
The second half began with the Generals trying to surge back. They brought the deficit to 10 with 12:40 left in the second half, only to have the Tigers expand the lead to 16 only moments later.
Over the rest of the second half, the closest the lead shrunk to was seven points with 7:37 left in the half, only to have Sewanee respond by expanding the lead to 19 with under two minutes to play before the Generals made one more basket to make the final score 96-79 for Sewanee.
Sewanee shot 18 of 19 free throws in the second half at 94.7 percent to seal the game as the Generals tried to come back. In the previous game, Emory and Henry used free throws to slow Sewanee.
In this game, the Tigers shot nearly perfectly to end any chances Washington and Lee had. The Tigers dominated in the paint, outscoring the Generals 52-32 and out-rebounding them 40-29. Overall, it was a great second game of the season for the Tigers, showing that although they miss last year’s four seniors, they are ready to move on with younger talent.