Sewanee goes undefeated in Lon Varnell Classic

Sewanee goes undefeated in Lon Varnell Classic. Freshman Joey Knox (C’22). Photo courtesy of

By J.T. Mitchell
Staff Writer

The Sewanee men’s basketball team defeated both Johnson University and Brevard College as the Tigers played host to the annual Lon Varnell Classic over the weekend.

Sewanee opened the two-day classic with a 91-78 win over Johnson on Friday night. Johnson, who came into the contest with a 1-5 record, was looking for a big win in an attempt to turn their season around, but the Tigers were having none of it.

The score stayed very close throughout the first 12 minutes until Sewanee went on a 17-9 run to close out the first half. The well-needed run sent the Tigers into the locker room with a 36-28 lead, one that they would not relinquish for the remainder of the game.  

After halftime, the Tigers continued their dominance, outscoring the Royals 29-10 within the first eight minutes of the period. At this point, the score was 65-38, and any chance of a Johnson comeback was erased.

Luke Smith (C’21) led all scorers with 19 points on five three-pointers for Sewanee, and Coby Jones managed a double-double in the loss for Johnson.

Saturday’s matchup against Brevard was not much different for the Tigers, as they defeated the Tornadoes by a score of 64-55.

Sewanee jumped out to a quick 14-4 lead to begin the game before going into the locker room with a 27-17 lead.

In the second half, Brevard arguably played their best half of the season by shooting an impressive 57.7 percent from the field and outscoring Sewanee 38-37, yet it was not enough for a comeback.

Thanks to another impressive performance by Smith, who had 18 points and six rebounds, and a double-double from the 2017-18 Southern Athletic Association Defensive Player of the Year Cam Caldwell (C’19), the Tigers earned their fourth consecutive win. Levi Lamb scored 23 points for the Tornadoes.

“This weekend was a good test for us as a team,” shooting guard Andrew Heitzenrater (C’20) said. “We executed our game plan and were able to pull out two great, team wins.”

Indeed, it was two great wins for the Tigers (4-0) before they go on the road to take on Covenant College on Tuesday, November 20.