EMORY, Va. – The Bridgewater College Eagles could not find their shooting touch following the halftime break Saturday afternoon as Emory & Henry rallied from a seven-point halftime deficit to take a 70-65 victory in ODAC men's basketball action.
The Eagles led 32-25 at the break but managed just five field goals in the second half. Bridgewater managed to stay close by going to foul line 32 times in the final 20 minutes and connected for 22 points.
Bridgewater scored the first five points of the game on a three-point play by Daniel McClain and two foul shots by Matthew Hunter, but the Wasps answered with six straight points to lead 6-5.
The Eagles reeled off the next eight points and led for the rest of the half. A layup by Tavis Stapleton put Bridgewater back on top and a free throw by Matt Hunter made the score 8-6. Zach Hunter scored the next four points and David Larson added a layup for a 14-6 Bridgewater lead with 13:33 left in the half.
The Wasps closed to within one, 18-17, on a layup by Charles Smith with 7:08 left before the Eagles opened up an eight-point lead with a 7-0 spurt. Benaiah Wise scored on a layup to push the margin to three and a jumper by Aaron Adams gave the Eagles a 22-17 lead. Kenneth Waugh capped the run with a 3-pointer, making the score 25-17 with 4:12 left in the first half.
The Eagles took their biggest lead, 32-23, with 26 seconds remaining on a layup by Kyle Welty, but Tyler Mullins scored from in close just before the buzzer to pull E&H to within seven, 32-23, at the half.
A jumper by Matt Hunter gave the Eagles a 39-30 lead early in the second half, but nine straight points by the Wasps tied the score.
Myles Turner started the E&H run with a 3-pointer and Stephen Brown added two more buckets from bonus range to tie the score at 39-39 with 15:30 to go.
The Eagles regained the lead on two free throws by Zach Hunter, but layups by Cameron Coles and Charles Smith gave the Wasps their first lead, 43-41, since early in the game.
Wise knocked down a 3-pointer for a 44-43 Bridgewater edge, but that would be the team's final lead of the game. Armando Murrell scored from the paint and Brown added a jumper to put the Wasps on top 47-44 with 9:57 remaining in the game.
Wise hit his 3-pointer with 12:09 left on the clock. The Eagles did not score again from the field until Matt Hunter's layup with just 2:59 left to play.
Despite their troubles from the floor, the Eagles remained within striking distance by going to the foul line. Bridgewater made 12 free throws between those two buckets, but several key misses from the stripe thwarted their comeback attempt.
The Eagles did make it a one-possession game with 1:10 left when Larson hit two foul shots to trim the deficit to three, 65-62.
Two foul shots by Turner pushed the lead back to five and the Eagles missed an opportunity to make it a one possession game again when Matt Hunter missed the second of a two-shot foul with 21 seconds left.
Two foul shots by McClain with nine seconds remaining did trim the margin back to three, but Brown stepped the line and hit two foul shots with eight ticks remaining to clinch the victory for the Wasps.
Matt Hunter was the only Bridgewater player in double figures as he finished with 14 points. Bridgewater's top three scorers – Ronnie Thomas, Ed Reddick and Stapleton – entered the game averaging a combined total of 35.2 points per game, but Saturday the trio managed just 11.
The Wasps displayed balanced scoring with five players reaching double figures. Murrell led the way with 17 points and Mullins scored 13. Brown was next with 12 points, followed by Turner with 11 and Smith with 10.
The loss drops the Eagles to 10-9 overall and 4-6 in the ODAC. E&H improves to 4-13, 2-8 in conference play.
Bridgewater returns to action Wednesday evening when the Eagles host Washington and Lee. Tip-off is slated for 7:00 p.m.