BRIDGEWATER, Va. – The Bridgewater College Eagles tip off the 2012-13 basketball season Friday evening when they meet Ferrum College at 6:00 p.m. on the first night of the Eastern Mennonite University Tip-Off Classic.
The Eagles will meet Elizabethtown at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday afternoon during second=day action.
Bridgewater head coach Don Burgess got a look at his team earlier this week when the Eagles played an exhibition against Division I Elon. The Phoenix knocked down 16 3-pointers and pulled away for a 95-51 victory.
Against the Phoenix, the Eagles starting lineup included Stapleton and junior Ronnie Thomas in the backcourt with senior Bryan Lynch and junior Daniel McClain at the forward spots. Romie Powell, another junior, started at center.
Depth should be a strength this season for the Eagles as Burgess has plenty of options to choose from off the bench. Two of his first options figure to be Reddick and fellow sophomore Aaron Adams, a double-digit scorer for the Eagles as a freshman.
The Eagles open the EMU Classic against Ferrum, a team that defeated the Eagles 98-84, a year ago. This year's Ferrum team, however, bears little resemblance to that squad.
The Panthers finished 13-13 a year ago and were picked to finish eighth this season in the USA South coaches' preseason poll.
Lamont King, a senior forward, is the only player on this year's roster that started against the Eagles a year ago. King was an honorable mention All-USA South selection last season after averaging 12.7 points and 7.0 rebounds per game.
Charles Warren, another senior forward, played 16 minutes in last year's game and controlled the paint against the Eagles with 19 points and five boards
Senior guard Donte Thomas is the only other Panther with starting experience as he started eight games a year ago and averaged 2.5 points per game.
Ferrum will look for some of its youngsters to contribute early as 11 of the 19 players on the roster are freshmen.
The teams already have one common opponent this season as both played exhibition contests against Elon. The Panthers lost to the Phoenix 103-49.
Saturday's opponent for the Eagles, the Elizabethtown College Blue Jays, struggled to an 8-16 record a year ago but returns seven of its top eight scorers from that team.
Joe Schwalm, a 6-2 junior swing man, returns a 12.0 scoring average to the team.
Manning the post for the Blue Jays will be 6-7 junior Andrew Mantz and 6-5 sophomore Lee Eckert. Mantz averaged 9.4 points and 7.0 rebounds per game a year ago while Eckert contributed 5.4 points and 3.0 rebounds
The Blue Jays are expected to start a senior backcourt with Joe Renzi at the point and Ben Cable at shooting guard. Renzi played an average of nine minutes per game last year and averaged one point and one assist. Cable knocked down 41percent of his 3-point attempts a year ago and averaged 7.4 points per game.
E-town has plenty of options in the backcourt as returning guards Steve Ennis, Will Schlosser and Phil Wenger all saw plenty of action a year ago. Backing up Renzi at the point will be junior Ryan Borzager.
Elizabethtown was picked to finish sixth this season in the Commonwealth Conference preseason poll.