Bulldogs close out Arby’s with tough 58-53 defeat

Published 12:28 am Friday, January 3, 2020

BRISTOL – The Hampton Bulldogs closed out the 2019 Arby’s Classic on Tuesday in the Consolation Final as the ‘Dogs took on host Tennessee High in a highly competitive contest.
After 32 minutes of basketball had played out, the Bulldogs found themselves on the short end of the stick in a 58-53 loss to the Vikings in a game that saw Hampton lead by six points with 6:50 left in the third quarter.
Even though Hampton only managed one win in three games, it was easy to see that playing three top-notched opponents will pay dividends down the road as the Bulldogs won’t see the caliber of competition they saw in their appearance at the Arby’s Classic which has been noted as one of the top three tournaments in the country.
After playing an even first quarter that saw both teams hang 20 points on their side of the board, the Bulldogs came out as the aggressor in the second period and when Jordan Bentley swished home a trey at the buzzer ending the first half, Hampton took a 36-31 lead to the locker room at the half.
The Bulldogs stumped their toe in the third quarter offensively adding only five points to their total while Tennessee High knocked down 12 to take a very tight 43-41 edge to the final period.
Hampton fought to the bitter end but couldn’t overcome the Vikes down the stretch as Tennessee High outscored the Bulldogs 15-12 in the final eight minutes of play.
Bentley led the ‘Dogs for the third straight game with 19 points while Matt Hughes finished with 11 points with six of those coming from beyond the arc early in the contest.
Caleb Oaks added eight points while four points each were recorded by Rocky Croy and Morgan Lyons.
Izaak Hill (3), Conor Jones (2), and Garrett Vines (2) closed out the scoring for the Bulldogs.
“In the first half, we had 10 assists and I thought we were driving it and kicking it to get good looks,” said Hampton head coach Ned Smith. “We had our shooters shooting the ball and in the second half, we only had four assists.
“I didn’t think we didn’t drive it and get the looks like we did. I think they turned the defense up to.
“All of our guys came to battle. Our bigs have grown over here and the guards have made shots. I think this tournament has made us a lot better team especially playing in the pressure of this environment.”
Hampton opens the conference portion of their slate tonight when they host Sullivan North.

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