BRIDGEWATER, Va. - Bridgewater freshman point guard Zach Hunter's driving layup with seven seconds left proved to be the game-winner Saturday afternoon as the Eagles edged Elizabethtown 78-76 in non-conference men's basketball action at the EMU Tip-Off Classic.
The Eagles played from behind much of the afternoon as the Blue Jays scorched the nets from 3-point range in each half.
The Eagles feel behind 8-2 to start the game and didn't pull even until Kenneth Waugh knocked down a long 3-pointer to tie the score at 19-19 with 10:55 left in the first half.
Waugh's three was the start of a 1-0 Bridgewater run. A layup by Daniel McClain and a 3-pointer by Bryan Lynch put the Eagles on top 24-19. Waugh capped the run with a transition layup off an assist from Lynch to give the Eagles a 26-19 lead with 8:55 left in the half.
Bridgewater maintained the lead until a layup by E-town big man Andrew Mantz tied the score at 33-33. After a steal and dunk by Tavis Stapleton put the Eagles up by two the Blue Jays scored six straight to regain the lead. After Mantz made a free throw, Lee Eckert powered inside for a bucket and Joe Schwalm followed with a 3-pointer, giving E-town a 39-35 lead.
The Blue Jays opened the second half with a long 3-pointer by Will Schlosser and a jump hook from Mantz to open up an eight point lead, 46-38.
Another 3-pointer, this one by Schwalm gave the Blue Jays their biggest lead of the game, 52-43, with 17:20 left to play.
Bridgewater answered with eight unanswered points to trim the margin to one. Thomas converted a steal into a breakaway layup and a jumper by Waugh cut the margin to five, 52-47. McClain knocked down a pair of free throws and Adams scored after an offensive rebound to make the score 52-51 with 14:29 remaining.
The Blue Jays then responded with eight straight points, six on back-to-back threes by Joe Bodnar to regain a nine-point lead, 60-51.
It was then the Eagles' turn to put offer a response and they did so with a 13-2 run to take the lead. After Thomas converted a three-point play for BC, Bodnar knocked down a 17-footer to keep E-town on top 62-54. A layup by Thomas and two foul shots by Lynch cut the margin to four before Ed Reddick worked the glass for an offensive rebound and a bucket to make it a two-point game. Matthew Hunter then rattled in a 3-pointer with 7:54 left to give the Eagles a 63-62 lead.
A layup by Joe Renzi put the Blue Jays back on top but Reddick worked the paint to convert a three-point play, giving BC a 66-64 lead.
After Mantz hit a pair of foul shots, Thomas connected from beyond the arc to give the Eagles a three-point lead. That margin was erased on the next possession when Schlosser swished a long 3-pointer to pull the Blue Jays even at 69-69 with 4:29 on the clock.
Bridgewater then took the upper hand with five straight points. Reddick made 1-of-2 at the foul line and then grabbed the defensive board on the next possession. This time Reddick cleaned the glass at the offensive end and dished off to Aaron Adams for a layup and a three-point Bridgewater lead. Reddick then came up with a steal at the defensive end and dished ahead to Zach Hunter for a layup, putting the Eagles on top 74-69 with 3:05 to play.
The lead didn't last as Bodnar swished a 3-pointer and Ben Cable converted a breakaway layup to pull the Blue Jays even at 74-74 with 1:53 to go.
After Reddick missed a pair of three throws, Bodnar worked free for a short jumper and a 76-54 Blue Jays lead with 33 seconds left.
The Eagles came out of a timeout and Adams hit McClain on a backdoor cut and McClain made the reverse layup to tie the score with 18 ticks on the clock.
Bridgewater then got a break when the Blue Jays stepped out of bounds, giving BC the ball with 11 seconds left.
After another BC timeout, the Eagles inbounded the ball to Zach Hunter in the backcourt and he took it all the way to hole for a layup with 7.7 seconds remaining.
The Blue Jays had one last chance to win it but Schlosser's 3-pointer from the right corner was short and Zach Hunter controlled the rebound as the Eagles escaped with the two-point, 78-76 victory.
Bridgewater overcame a torrid shooting performance for the Blue Jays from beyond the arc as E-town hit 14-of-25 3-point shots. Cable led the Blue Jays with 22 points and Bodnar added 13, all in the second half.
The Eagles countered with a balanced scoring attack as nine players scored at least seven points. Thomas led the way with 14 points, four rebounds, four assists and five steals. Stapleton and Adams each finished with nine for the Eagles.
After getting beat on the boards by three in the first half, the Eagles dominated the rebounding battle in the second half and finished with a 43-36 advantage. Reddick and McClain flirted with double-doubles as Reddick scored eight points and grabbed a team-high eight boards while McClain scored eight points and pulled down seven rebounds.
With the victory, Bridgewater evened its record at 1-1. The Eagles return to action Wednesday when they travel to Penn State-Brandywine