HARRISONBURG, Va. – Bridgewater College was unable to overcome a cold-shooting first half Wednesday evening as Eastern Mennonite held off the Eagles in the second half for a key 72-62 ODAC victory at Yoder Arena.
The Eagles shot just 26 percent in the first half as the Royals opened up a double figure lead. Ed Reddick hit two free throws to open the scoring, but the Royals reeled off the next 13 points as Bridgewater failed to make a field goal in the first 6:20 of the contest.
EMU took its biggest lead of the first half at the 9:19 mark when Owen Longacre hit a 3-ponter, making the score 23-10.
Bridgewater's offense finally showed some life with a 9-0 run to cut the lead to four with 6:08 left in the half. Ed Reddick hit a layup and two free throws and Bryan Lynch converted a three-point play to cut the lead to six. Lynch then tacked on a pair of free throws, cutting EMU's lead to 23-19.
The Royals then responded with a 9-3 spurt to push the lead back to 10. The Eagles cut the margin to eight late in the half on a layup by Aaron Adams but EMU's Dajon Daniel scored from the paint with 18 seconds left to send EMU to the locker room with a 36-26 lead.
Bridgewater's shooting woes continued early in the second half and the Royals took advantage as they expanded their lead to 14 points. After a jumper by Tavis Stapleton trimmed the deficit to nine, Daniel hit two layups – one of the set offense and a second in transition – to push the lead to 13. Andrew Thorne added 1-of-2 from the foul line, making the score 44-30 with 17:20 left in the game.
The Eagles weathered the early second-half spurt but still trailed by 11 points, 49-38, when Ryan Yates hit 1-of-2 foul shots with 12:11 left in the game.
Bridgewater then put together its best run of the night as an 8-0 spurt cut the lead to three. Reddick hit two free throws and Adams took a nice dish from Kordero Thompson to score from inside. Thompson took an assist from Ronnie Thomas and converted a layup to trim EMU's lead to five. After an EMU turnover, Thomas drove inside and knocked down a short jumper to pull the Eagles within three, 49-46, with 9:23 left.
EMU had the answer and it came in the form of a 10-0 run to push the advantage back to 13-points. R.J. Sims made one of the biggest shots of the game when he hit a 3-pointer from well behind the arc with the shot clock expiring to boost the EMU lead to six. After a turnover, EMU's James Williams knocked down a 15-footer and the lead was back to eight. A layup by Thorne and an open 3-pointer from Thorne put EMU back on top by 13 points, 59-46, with 6:35 left.
Bridgewater whittled the lead down to six, 65-59, with 2:04 left when Reddick hit two foul shots, but the Eagles would get no closer.
EMU's Adam Burroughs hit the dagger on the next possession when his 3-pointer from the left corner found nothing but net to push the lead back to nine and put an end to the Eagles' comeback bid.
Reddick duplicated his double-double effort from BC's first game against EMU as he finished Wednesday's game with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Aaron Adams scored 13 points and Zach Hunter turned in a solid floor game with six points, five steals, three assists and just one turnover in 30 minutes of action.
Thorne led the Royals with 16 points. Longacre scored 13 and Sims added 12. Longacre, Daniel and David Falk grabbed eight rebounds each to lead the Royals to a 42-38 advantage on the glass.
Both teams are now 7-8 in conference play with one regular season game remaining. EMU hosts Roanoke on Saturday while the Eagles, now 13-11 overall, host Guilford. Bridgewater needs a victory to secure a first-round home game in the ODAC tournament.