BRIDGEWATER, Va. - The Bridgewater men's basketball team closes out the regular season with two key games that will decide the Eagles' seeding for the ODAC Tournament.
Bridgewater will make the short trip up Route 42 on Wednesday to take on Eastern Mennonite. Saturday the Eagles will play their home finale against the Guilford College Quakers.
The Eagles could finish anywhere from sixth through ninth in the conference standings. There is one certainty. If the Eagles win both games this week, they will enter the tournament as the No. 6 seed.
The Royals enter Wednesday's game with a 13-10 overall record and a 6-8 ODAC mark. EMU is coming off an 85-71 loss this past Saturday at Randolph-Macon.
EMU defeated Bridgewater earlier this season in Nininger Hall, 72-68. With the game tied at 68-68. R.J. Sims hit a 10-footer for the go-ahead bucket with just eight seconds left.
Andrew Thorne scored 18 points in the first meeting to lead the Royals. Sims scored 14 and Owen Longacre added 10. Ed Reddick had a huge game for the Eagles with 20 points and 12 rebounds against EMU. Ronnie Thomas scored 17 and Tavis Stapleton added 10. The Eagles will play the rematch without Thomas as the junior guard is still recovering from a wrist injury.
Thorne is the go-to guy for the Royals as he leads the team in scoring (15.6 points) and rebounding (6.5 rebounds) this season. Sims averages 13.8 points and point guard Dajon Daniel adds 10.2 points per game.
Guilford cracked the D3hoops.com Top 25 earlier this season, but the Quakers have gone 5-5 in their past 10 games.
All-ODAC guard Josh Pittman leads the Quakers attack, scoring 18.2 points and dishing out 4.9 assists per game. Pittman ranks second in the ODAC in scoring and first in assists. He also is one of the top 3-point threats in the conference and leads the ODAC in 3-pointers made with 74.
Pittman has plenty of help offensively with Matt McCarthy scoring 12.6 points per game and freshman big man Zeb Richardson adding 11.0 points per game.
Richardson ranks fourth in the ODAC in rebounding with 7.8 boards per outing, just behind teammate Jake Hopkins who pulls down 8.0 rebounds per game.
The Quakers rank second in the conference in 3-point shooting with 38 percent marksmanship. Guilford also has the best free-throw shooting team in the ODAC as the Quakers make 71.1 percent from the foul line.
Bridgewater (13-10 overall and 7-7 in the ODAC) is coming off its worst loss of the season as conference-leading Hampden-Sydney rolled past the Eagles 95-49.
Thomas still leads the Eagles in several statistical categories, including scoring (11.8 points per game), assists (3.0 per game) and steals (1.5 per game). Thomas hopes to return to action Saturday for the game against Guilford.
Stapleton averages 11.2 points per game and Reddick scores 11.0 points per game. Reddick also leads the team on the boards with 6.1 rebounds per game.
Pairings for the ODAC Tournament will be announced following the conclusion of Saturday's games.