BRIDGEWATER, Va. – Freshman Zach Hunter hit two free throws with eight seconds left in the second overtime to give Bridgewater a one-point lead and the Eagles survived a last-second shot by Washington and Lee's J.D. Ey to take a wild 67-66 victory in ODAC men's basketball action Wednesday evening at Nininger Hall.
The unpredictable second half featured two huge swings in play. W&L used a 22-4 run to take an 18-point lead, but the Eagles answered with an 18-0 run to tie the score late in regulation.
The Eagles played Wednesday's contest without two of their leading offensive performers as Ronnie Thomas and Aaron Adams were unavailable for action. As might be expected, the Eagles struggled at the offensive end, scoring just 12 points in the first 16 minutes of the game.
Despite their offensive woes, the Eagles were still within striking distance, trailing by just 10 points, 22-12, when W&L's Drew Kimberly made the second of a two-shot foul with 3:59 left in the half.
Bridgewater closed the half with a 7-1 spurt to trail by just four at the break.
Two foul shots by Ed Reddick and a jumper by Tavis Stapleton trimmed the deficit to six, 22-16, with 2:06 left. A 3-pointer by Stapleton made it a three-point game, 22-19. before Ey thit 1-of-2 foul shots with 11 seconds left in the half for a 23-19 Generals lead.
The Eagles tied the score early in the second half when two Matthew Hunter free throws pulled BC even at 26-26.
W&L then embarked on a 22-4 run over the next seven minutes and change to open up what appeared to a comfortable 18-point lead. Freshman forward Andrew Franz fueled the Generals charge with 10 points as W&L led 48-30 with 9:46 left in the game.
Bridgewater coach Don Burgess then went to a small lineup in an effort to change the flow of the game. The small unit did just that with an 18-0 run to tie the score with less than four minutes left.
Kyle Welty started the run with a 3-pointer and Stapleton and Reddick followed with short jumpers to pull the Eagles to within 48-37. Zach Hunter then converted one of his nine steals into a layup at the offensive end to cut the deficit under 10 with 7:10 left to play.
Following a W&L timeout, another steal and layup by Zach Hunter trimmed the margin to seven. After a W&L miss at the offensive end, Stapleton knocked down a long 3-pointer and the Eagles were down by just four, 48-44, with 6:06 left on the clock.
The Eagles continued to get stops at the defensive end and a layup by Kordero Thompson made it a two-point game. The Generals turned the ball over on its next two possessions and the Eagles finally pulled even when Welty hit a pair of free throws to tie the score at 48-48 with 3:27 remaining.
The Generals finally found the range on their next trip when Franz connected from beyond the arc for a 53-50 W&L lead. After the teams traded misses, the Eagles pulled to within one when Reddick followed up a Zach Hunter miss with a thunderous two-hand dunk, making the score 51-50.
Kimberly slipped free underneath for a layup to put the Generals back up by three before Stapleton swished a long 3-pointer to tie the score at 53-53.
On the next possession, Ey missed a 16-footer with the shot clock approaching zero and the ball went out of bounds to the Eagles. Bridgewater had the last shot to win in regulation, but Stapleton's fadeaway 15-footer was just long at the buzzer.
In the first overtime, it was the Eagles turn to take a big lead. Bridgewater scored the first eight points to lead 61-53. Thompson hit a pair of layups and Matt Hunter put the Eagles on top by six with a baseline jumper. Another steal and layup by Zach Hunter made the score 61-53 with 1:36 left.
The lead evaporated in a hurry. Kevin Gill's 3-pointer trimmed the margin to five and, after Matt Hunter missed the front end of a one-and-one, Ey threw down a dunk to pull the Generals to within three, 61-58. Bridgewater turned the ball over in the backcourt and a 3-pointer by Javon McDonald tied the score at 61-61 with 1:00 left.
Stapleton missed a 3-point attempt for the Eagles, but Zach Hunter turned away the Generals at the offensive end with another steal in the closing seconds, sending the game to a second overtime.
The Generals took a two-point lead early in the second OT when Patrick O'Connor and McDonald each hit 1-of-2 at the foul line, but the Eagles tied the score on Reddick's 15-footer with 2:21 remaining.
After a W&L turnover, Zach Hunter made two foul shots for a 65-63 lead with 1:48 left.
Gill missed a short jumper for the Generals, but the Eagles turned the ball over and McDonald hit a long 3-pointer from the top of the key to put the Generals on top, 66-65, with just 42 seconds left.
Stapleton's jumper with the shot clock winding down was blocked by Ey, but the ball went out of bounds to the Eagles. Zach Hunter was fouled on the inbounds play and the BC freshman calmly hit both free throws to put the Eagles on top, 67-66.
W&L had one last chance, but Ey's runner in the paint was off target and Stapleton corralled the rebound to secure the victory.
Stapleton led the Eagles with 21 points and Reddick added 12. Zach Hunter just missed a double-double as he scored 10 points to go along with his nine steals. Thompson came off the bench late in the second half and led the Eagles on the glass with eight rebounds. Welty also made a strong contribution off the bench as the sophomore scored a career-high nine points.
Franz led the Generals with 19 points and McDonald scored 12. Ey had a monster game as the senior finished with 10 points and 21 rebounds.
The victory moved the Eagles into a tie with the Generals in the conference standings as both teams are now 5-6 in ODAC play. Bridgewater improves to 11-9 overall while the Generals drop to 10-10.
The Eagles are back in action Saturday afternoon when they host Roanoke College. Tip–off is set for 2:00 p.m.