SALEM, Va. — We’ve told you about possibly the ODAC’s best story, Washington and Lee forward Jim Etling. We’ve told you about W&L’s surprising upset win over Randolph in the opening round of the ODAC Tournament. What’s left to say about the Generals’ even bigger upset, a 77-70 victory over #3 Guilford in Friday’s quarterfinals?
Not much. No General was particularly flashy in the win–Andrew Franz was his usual self, scoring points in bunches and finishing with 17 so quietly that barely anyone noticed, and ODAC Scholar-Athlete of the Year Drew Kimberly paced all scorers with a neat 24 points on 17 shots–and although Guilford made it close several times late, the victor never seemed in much doubt to us, because the Generals were the superior squad.
There were a few moments that might’ve made a passionate W&L fan nervous, however. One such moment occurred at roughly the seven minute mark of the second half. A Trever Hyatt triple had just cut Guilford’s deficit to 5, the W&L fans behind us began to get anxious.
But then Kimberly made two buckets from underneath the basket, and when Kevin Gill picked Jake Hopkins’ pocket and drove the length of the floor himself, pushing the advantage back to double-digits, the Generals looked they could defeat anyone. Kimberly capped off the run with another contested shot in the paint to make put Washington and Lee up 13 once more, 65-52.
The Quakers made a few important baskets and kept things close thereafter, but never managed to get closer than within 4 from that point forward.
But Guilford made WLU earn it at the end. The Quakers switched to a full-court press with about two minutes left, and it was very effective, causing two jump balls and a WLU timeout in quick succession. But Generals Coach Hutchinson must have figured out the optimal strategy to break it: spring Kleinlein down the court on the inbounds. After embracing that strategy, his team started to break the press, hit their free-throws down the stretch, and came away with yet another upset win. Their path gets no easier from here: they will play #2 Va. Wesleyan tomorrow in the second semifinal. For now, though, they can rest on yet another upset victory.
- Final: #11 Washington and Lee 77, #3 Guilford 70
- Player of the Game: Drew Kimberly (W&L) (24 points on 17 shots, 8 rebounds)