HARRISONBURG, Va. – Senior guard AJ Horde hit a 3-pointer with 1.7 seconds left in regulation to send the game to overtime and then Horde hit the game-winner with 4.6 seconds remaining in OT to lift the Eagles to an 81-80 victory Wednesday night over rival Eastern Mennonite at Yoder Arena.
The victory was the sixth straight for the Eagles as they improved to 8-4 overall and 2-1 in the ODAC. Eastern Mennonite dropped to 5-6 overall and 0-3 in the conference.
Horde and his teammates struggled to find their shooting touch against the Royals, but the senior point guard knocked down two huge 3-pointers with the game hanging in the balance.
The Eagles made just 25-of-75 shots from the floor, including just 11-of-36 from beyond the arc. The Royals also struggled from the floor, making 25-of-70 shots, including just 5-of-23 from long range.
Bridgewater trailed for most of the second half and was down by four, 65-61, when RaShawn Latimer hit two free throws for EMU with 2:02 left in regulation. Bridgewater guard Chandler Murray then struck from long range to make it a one-point game with 1:49 remaining.
Tim Jones hit two foul shots for EMU, but Davrion Grier scored on an easy layup off the dish from Horde to keep the Eagles within a point 67-66, with 1:09 to go.
Horde came away with a steal on the next possession, but his layup was blocked and the Royals came away with possession. Bridgewater's Josh Cammon then knocked a pass away for another steal and was fouled on his way to the bucket. The Eagles' freshman hit 1-of-2 free throws to tie the score with 28 seconds left.
Eastern Mennonite senior Isaiah Harris-Winn put the Royals up when he connected on a a 3-pointer with six seconds left. The Eagles put the ball in Horde's hands and he pulled the trigger from several feet beyond the arc to tie the score and send the game to overtime.
Latimer scored the first four points in overtime for the Royals and the hosts looked to be in control when Travis Clower swished a 3-pointer from the top of the key to give EMU a 79-73 lead with 1:51 left.
The lead was still six, 80-74, when Dimetri Chambers made two free throws to pull the Eagles to within four with 1:07 left.
With the shot clock winding down, Harris-Winn missed from 3-point range and the ball went out of bounds with possession going to the Eagles. Chambers drove the lane for a layup to pull Bridgewater to within a bucket, 80-78, with 27 seconds left.
The Royals then turned the ball over and a long 3-point shot by Chambers came up short, but the ball went out of bounds and was last touched by the Royals. Bridgewater then got the ball in Horde's hands and he hit a contested 3-pointer to put the Eagles on top, 81-80.
EMU pushed the ball into the frontcourt, but lost the ball out of bounds along the baseline before being able to get off a potential game-winning shot.
Despite making just 4-of-19 shots, Horde finished with a double-double as he collected 15 points and 10 assists. Chambers also struggled with his shot as he finished with 19 points on 6-of-19 shooting. Cammon was the third starter in double digits with 12 points.
The Eagles also received strong contributions off the bench. Murray scored 11 points and grabbed seven rebounds while Sami El-Rafey added 10 points and six boards. TJ Turner chipped in with eight points and Grier tied Murray for the team lead in rebounds with seven.
Harris-Winn led the Royals with 20 points and Latimer added 12. Clower and Sammy Thomas scored 10 points each. Harris-Winn also pulled down 16 rebounds to lead EMU to a 54-44 advantage on the glass.
Bridgewater returns to action Sunday afternoon when the Eagles travel to Lexington to play Washington and Lee. Tip-off is scheduled for 2:00 p.m.