DC wins W&L Tip-Off Tournament with 83-79 victory over Ferrum

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LEXINGTON, Va. - Defiance College picked up an early season tournament championship with an 83-79 victory over Ferrum College Saturday afternoon to win the Washington and Lee Season Tip-Off Tournament.

Ryan Hicks and Bernard Edwards combined for 53 points to lead the Yellow Jackets (2-0) to the programs first early season tournament championship since the Yellow Jackets won the John Dawson Tip-Off Tournament in 2009. The Yellow Jackets went on to win the HCAC Tournament and earn an NCAA tournament bid in that season.

"We typically do a tournament at the beginning of the year to test our team and see where we are at," said head coach Kyle Brumett. "We tried to talk to the guys about getting into the position of winning one and we had the opportunity today and the team rose to the challenge."

Hicks and Edwards were both named to the W&L Tip-Off Tournament team and Hicks was named the Tournament MVP after their performances over the weekend.

"Hicks and Edwards played very well this weekend and especially tonight," said Brumett. "At times we needed to lean on them and they were able to play well. It was a good team effort all around. We had some great plays at times from everyone on the floor that helped out at key times in the game."

Unlike the night before, the Yellow Jackets were in a much tighter game against the Panthers (1-1) in the championship game. Defiance's largest lead of the game was 12 points midway through the second half, but the teams were separated by five points or less for a majority of the contest.

"This early in the season you are not a finished product and you are going to have some things to work on. They were really hard to match up for us today and we played well and were able to find a way to win."

The Yellow Jackets rode 16 first half points by Hicks and 16-for-35 shooting from the field to take a 38-34 lead into the halftime break. Both teams were 3-of-8 from behind the three-point line, but Ferrum had nine free throws to Defiance's three in the first 20 minutes.

Both offenses continued to roll in the second half, scoring 45 points a piece. Edwards led the way for DC in the second half with 18 points while Hicks added 11 more. Edwards finished with 26 points and had three rebounds. The junior also was 12-of-14 from the free-throw line. Hicks finished with 27 points and a team high in nine rebounds and four assists as well.

Ferrum shot 62 percent from the field in the second half to stick with Defiance, but the Yellow Jackets held off Ferrum with14 free throws after going 74 percent from the line. The Panthers struggled at the line in the second half, barely shooting 50 percent with just seven points.

With 55 seconds remaining in the contest, Ferrum tied the game at 77. Hicks followed with a jumper and Edwards made two free throws following a Mason Roth steal. Roth had seven points in the game to go along with three steals and four rebounds.

After a Panthers basket, Travis Schomaeker made a critical free throw moments later to extend the lead back to three.  Schomaeker finished with 14 points and two assists in 37 minutes of action.

The Yellow Jackets fouled Ferrum after Schomaeker's basket to send the Panthers to the line for two while needing three points. After an intentional miss on the second shot, Kent Tietje grabbed the rebound to seal the victory for Defiance. Tietje had three boards and three points in the game, playing 22 minutes off the bench.

DC dominated in the paint Saturday. The Yellow Jackets had 40 points to Ferrum's 26 and Defiance out-rebounded the Panthers 36-25.

Defiance will return to action on Wednesday in a double header with the women at Alma College. The men are slated for an 8 p.m. tip.