BRIDGEWATER, Va. - The Bridgewater College men's basketball team will play a pair of games during Thanksgiving week as they look to improve upon their 1-1 start.
Bridgewater opened its season this past weekend at the EMU Tip-Off Classic and split its two games. The Eagles dug a big hole in the first five minutes of their game against Ferrum and lost to the Panthers, 85-72. Aaron Adams scored a career-high 24 points and grabbed a team-high six rebounds for the Eagles. Bridgewater bounced back on Saturday and defeated Elizabethtown, 78-76. Freshman point guard Zach Hunter's driving layup with seven seconds left proved to the game-winner. Ronnie Thomas led a balanced scoring attack with 14 points.
Bridgewater travels to Media, Pa., Wednesday evening to play Penn State Brandywine before returning home to prepare for Saturday's home opener against The College of New Jersey.
Penn State Brandywine finished 13-14 a year ago. The Lions are led by two-time USCAA All-American guard Rasheed Wilkins. The 6-1 junior guard averaged 20 points per game last year and has passed the 1,000 career point mark in his first two seasons.
The Lions also return two more starters from a year ago in 6-3 senior forward Leonard Pray and 6-0 sophomore guard Zack DeVito. Pray averaged 8.5 points and 6.0 rebounds while DeVito chipped in with 10 points per game.
PSU-Brandywine enters the game against BC with a 1-1 record after splitting games at the Rutgers-Camden tournament. The Lions lost to Westfield State 69-64 and defeated Penn State Berks 83-70. Wilkins scored 33 points in the loss to Westfield State and 25 in the win over PSU-Berks. Dan Robinson, a 6-8 forward, also dropped 25 in the Lions victory.
Bridgewater played the Lions two years ago in the EMU Tip-Off Classic and the Eagles took a 99-71 win. Wilkins scored 21 points and Pray added seven for the Lions. Several of the current Eagles played in that game as well. Thomas scored 10 points and Tavis Stapleton added nine for BC. Daniel McClain and Romie Powell also saw action for Bridgewater.
Saturday the Eagles play in Nininger Hall for the first time this season when they host another group of Lions, this group from The College of New Jersey.
The Lions finished with a 9-16 record a year. TCNJ opens its 2012-13 season tonight against William Paterson.
The Lions return 10 players from last year's team, including four who started at least nine games.
Leading this year's offense will be guards Matthew Rista and Emmanuel Matlock. Rista is the leading returning scorer as he averaged 7.3 points per game. Matlock scored 6.7 points per game and led the team in assists. Drew Grapstul, a 6-8 center, also returns. Grapstul started nine games and averaged 1.5 points and 1.3 rebounds.
Game time for Saturday's game against The College of New Jersey is 1:00 p.m.