BRIDGEWATER, Va. – Roanoke College big man Daniel Eacho dominated the paint Tuesday night and helped carry the visiting Maroons to a 76-68 victory over Bridgewater in the opening round of the ODAC men's basketball tournament in Nininger Hall.
Roanoke (11-15) advances to the ODAC quarterfinals Friday at the Salem Civic Center and will play the second-seeded Hampden-Sydney Tigers (22-3).
Eacho scored 23 points and pulled down 22 rebounds, leading the Maroons to a huge 60-39 margin on the boards.
For the Eagles, it was simply one of those nights when they had trouble putting the ball in the basket.
In the opening half, the Eagles actually shot a better percentage than Roanoke, but the Maroons established their dominance on the glass and took 10 more shots in the first 20 minutes, due in large part to the 10 offensive rebounds they controlled.
Bridgewater played on even terms with the Maroons early in the game and led by one, 21-20, at the 8:42 mark when Zach Hunter scored on a layup.
Roanoke then took the lead for good, 29-21, with a 9-0 run. After Matt Moats hit 1-of-2 foul shots, Kwasi Amponsah hit two jumpers and Eacho added four points from in close, putting the Maroons on top by eight with 4:14 left in the first half.
Despite being outrebounded 27-16 and shooting just 1-of-8 from 3-point range, the Eagles trailed by just six at the half when Ronnie Thomas hit a 15-footer just before the buzzer, trimming the Roanoke lead to 35-29.
The Eagles were unable to make a serious run at the Maroons in the second half. Bridgewater cut the lead to five twice, the second time on a Matthew Hunter fastbreak layup that made the score 39-34 with 16:44 left in the game.
The Maroons then hit Bridgewater with a 13-2 run to take control. Two inside buckets by Eacho stretched the lead to nine before a driving layup by Bridgewater's Ed Reddick cut the lead to seven, 43-36.
Andrew Daniels scored on the break and Eacho threw down a dunk to put the Maroons on top 49-36. Amponsah put the exclamation point on the Roanoke run with a long 3-pointer, giving the Maroons a 52-26 lead with 11:22 remaining.
Roanoke continued to build on its lead and led by as many as 21 points in the final 10 minutes.
Bridgewater's reserves scored the final nine points of game in the final minute to trim a 17-point deficit down to the final 76-68 margin.
Eacho had plenty of help in the scoring column and on the boards. Amponsah finished with 19 points and point guard Julian Ramirez added 12 points. Freshman Cameron Smith scored just two points, but the 5-foot-5 forward pulled down nine rebounds.
Bryan Lynch, playing his final game for the Eagles, scored 11 points along with point guard Matt Hunter. Ed Reddick added 10 points. Reddick, Daniel McClain and Ronnie Thomas each grabbed six rebounds and Thomas dished out five assists.
For the game, the Eagles shot 37.7 percent from the floor, including 26.3 percent from 3-point range. Bridgewater also struggled at the foul line where the Eagles made just 11-of-23 shots for 47.8 percent.
The Eagles finish the 2012-13 season with a 14-12 record, the program's first winning record since the 2008-09 season when the team finished with a 15-12 mark.