BRIDGEWATER – Bridgewater outscored Keystone College 29-15 in the final 8:29 of Friday's evening's game to pull away for an 88-72 victory on the first day of the Don Glick Classic.
With the victory, the Eagles improved to 3-4 on the season.
"There were still stretches where we were inconsistent and lost some focus, but overall it was a good performance," Eagles' head coach Shawn Postiglione said.
The Eagles led for much of the first half and eventually pushed the lead to double figures when Josh Cammon knocked down a 3-pointer for a 34-23 lead with 5:02 left in the half.
The lead was still 10 points after Sami El-Rafey powered inside for a bucket, giving the Eagles a 38-28 lead. After a 15-footer by the Giants' Michael Leak, Ken Stanciel worked inside and converted a three=point play, making the score 41-31 with 56 seconds remaining in the half. Perry Belcher scored for Keystone with 24 seconds left, but AJ Horde buried a 3-pointer from the left corner with just four seconds on the clock to send the Eagles to the break with a 44-33 lead.
Bridgewater struggled to score early in the second half, adding just six points to its total in the first eight minutes. The Giants whittled away at the deficit and pulled to within two, 50-48, on a jumper by Belcher with 12:18 left to play.
The Eagles never gave up the lead, but the margin was still two, 59-57 with 8:42 remaining.
Stanciel then took control of the glass and the Eagles started rebuilding the lead.
Stanciel turned two offensive rebounds into two buckets to put the Eagles on top 63-57. After a Keystone turnover, Stanciel grabbed another offensive rebound and this time kicked it out to Horde for an open 3-pointer and a 66-57 lead. Horde tacked on a layup and the margin was back to double-figures, 68-57, with 6:47 left.
Belcher and Cammon traded layups to keep the margin at 11 before another layup from Belcher trimmed the deficit to 70-61 with 5:27 remaining. Stanciel then went back to work on the boards when he rebounded a missed free throw by Dimetri Chambers and scored on the stickback to put the Eagles up 72-61.
After Belcher made 1-of-2 foul shots, Stanciel took a pass from Horde, scored in traffic while being fouled and then made the foul shot to complete the three-point play, pushing the Eagles' lead to 75-62 with 4:30 remaining.
"Ken plays hard," Postiglione said of his first-year forward. "He brings a lot of energy and tonight he provided us with a huge lift."
The Giants could get no closer than 10 points the rest of the way as the Eagles finished off the 88-72 victory.
Horde led the Eagles with 26 points and Cammon added 19 and seven rebounds. Stanciel and Davrion Grier provided the Eagles with big performances off the bench. Stanciel finished with 17 points and seven rebounds in 19 minutes while Grier grabbed 12 rebounds to lead the Eagles to a dominant 55-42 advantage on the glass.
"Cammon, Grier and Stanciel really did the job on the boards, not only on the defensive end, but they came up with some huge offensive rebounds that allowed us to extend possessions," said Postiglione. Bridgewater grabbed 19 offensive rebounds with Cammon, Stanciel and Grier combining for 12 offensive boards.
JT Bennett paced the Giants with 15 points, followed by Belcher with 12 and Mark Gilliam with 10.
Postiglione was pleased with the Eagles' defense that held the Giants 15 points below their season scoring average.
"They're a dangerous team in transition," said the Eagles' head coach. "I thought, for the most part, we did a solid job of stopping the ball in transition."
Bridgewater is back in action Saturday afternoon when the Eagles host the Apprentice School at 3:00 p.m. in the final game of the Glick Classic.
In Friday's opening contest, Eastern Mennonite raced past Apprentice 112-84. EMU (3-5) plays Keystone (4-4) in Saturday's first game at 1:00 p.m.