WINCHESTER, Va. - A stellar defensive effort in the second half allowed Bridgewater College to erase a 12-point halftime deficit as the Eagles rallied for a 69-66 conference victory on the road Wednesday night over Shenandoah University. Bridgewater trailed by 19 points late in the first half, but the Eagles limited the Hornets to just 21 points in the second half to rally for the key conference win.
The Hornets opened the contest with a 14-1 run in the first 5:30 of the game. A four-point play by Aaron Patterson gave the Hornets a 6-1 lead and jumpers by Jonah Meredith and Patterson pushed the margin to 10-1. Layups by Christopher Chaney and Meredith made the score 14-1 with 14:33 left in the first half. The Eagles missed their first eight shots and turned the ball over once as the Hornets opened up their 13-point lead.
Chandler Murray knocked down a 3-pointer at the 14:23 mark for the Eagles' first bucket of the game, trimming the margin to 14-4.
The Eagles chipped away and cut the margin in half, trailing 20-15 when Josh Cammon scored inside with 8:58 left in the half.
The Hornets then reeled off 14 unanswered points to take their biggest lead of the game, 34-15. Five straight points by Patterson made the score 28-15 and buckets by Jalyn Jarrett and Chaney put the margin at 33-15. Chaney capped the run with 1-of-2 at the line, giving the Hornets a 19-point lead with 4:39 left in the half.
Cammon ended the Eagles drought with a layup and his bucket started an 7-0 spurt that cut the margin to 12 points. A jumper by Ken Stanciel and 1-of-2 at the line from Dimetri Chambers made it 34-20 before a layup by Stanciel sliced the margint to 12 with three minutes left in the half.
A 3-pointer by Shenandoah's Jordan Hunter pushed the advantage back to 15 points, but a tip-in by Stanciel and a 3-pointer by Chambers got the Eagles to within 10 points, 39-29, with 1:30 remaining in the half. The Hornets scored the next five points to once again lead by 15, but a 3-pointer by Davrion Grier with 28 seconds left cut the Hornets' lead to 44-32 at the break.
Shenanodah opened the second half with a layup by Derrick Perry before a 3-pointer by Chambers pulled the Eagles to with 11 points, 46-35. Layups by Perry and Perry increased the Hornets' cushion to 50-35 with 18:38 left in the game.
Bridgewater's defense then started to take control as the Eagles held the Hornets to just five points over the next nine minutes. The Eagles poured in 20 points during that nine- minute stretch to pull even with 9:10 left to play.
The Hornets' lead was still 12 when Meredith hit a 3-pointer to make it 55-43 with 14:44 on the clock. A 3-pointer by Chambers sliced the margin to single digits and a dunk by Grier cut the margin to seven, 55-48, with 13:20 left. A three-point play by Sami El-Rafey made it 55-51 and then El-Rafey made 1-of-2 free throws to make it a one possession game, 55-52. Murray made 1-of-2 foul shots to make it a two-point game and then Murray knocked down a jumper to tie the score at 55-55.
A dunk by Meredith ended a long Shenandoah drought, but Zach Breathwaite scored inside for the Eagles to tie the score at 57-57. The teams traded empty possessions until Chambers scored on a layup with 8:23 left to give the Eagles their first lead of the game, 59-57.
Both teams went scoreless for more than two minutes before Meredith scored inside to pull the Hornets even at 59-59. Patterson made 1-of-2 foul shots for a one-point Hornets' lead, but Stanciel drained a jumper to put the Eagles on top 61-60 with 3:51 left.
After Shenandoah regained the lead on a jumper by Chaney, Cammon knocked down a big 3-pointer to give the Eagles a 64-63 advantage with 1:59 remaining. After Patterson missed a 3-pointer for the Hornets, the teams exchanged turnovers until a steal by Cammon led by a bucket by Grier that put the Eagles up 66-62 with just 51 seconds left.
Meredith then converted a three-point play to pull the Hornets to within a single point with 43 seconds left. Following a Shenandoah timeout, the Eagles put the ball in Grier's hands and the sophomore got to the rim and converted a layup for a three-point, 68-65, Bridgewater lead with 33 seconds on the clock.
Stanciel blocked an inside shot by Perry with 21 seconds left, but the Eagles were unable to control the rebound. Patterson got off a 3-pointer with 12 seconds left, but his shot bounced off the rim. Perry, however, chased down the offensive rebound, giving the Hornets one last opportunity. Following a timeout, Patterson took another long 3-pointer that was once again off the mark. This time Stanciel came down with the rebound to preserve the Eagles' three-point margin.
Chambers hit 4-of-8 shots from 3-point range and finished with 19 points to lead the Eagles. Stanciel continued in his role of providing a spark off the bench as he posted a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds in 22 minutes. Grier also reached double figures with 10 points.
Patterson torched the Eagles for 16 points in the opening half, but he missed all 11 of his field goal attempts in the second half and added just one point to his total. Meredith scored 13 points and Chaney added 11 for the Hornets.
Stanciel's work on the boards helped the Eagles battle the Hornets to a 47-47 standoff on the glass. Cammon added eight rebounds and Breathwaite pulled down seven. Perry grabbed 11 rebounds to pace Shenandoah and Chaney grabbed 10 boards.
Bridgewater is back in action Saturday when the Eagles make the long road trip to Emory & Henry to meet the nationally-ranked Wasps. Tip-off againt the nation's 21st-ranked team is set for 2:00 p.m.