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Late First-Half Spurt Sparks WildCats Past Eagles

Davrion Grier scored nine points in a loss at Randolph.

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Randolph College closed the first half with a 14-4 run to open up a 37-23 halftime lead and the WildCats went on to defeat Bridgewater College, 73-60, Saturday afternoon in ODAC men's basketball action.

Bridgewater (12-9, 6-6 in the ODAC)  trailed by just four points, 23-19, when Zach Breathwaite hit two foul shots with 6:53 left in the first half. A bucket by Reid Jacoby and two free throws put the home team on top by eight, 27-19, before a jumper by Josh Cammon pulled the Eagles to within six with 4:54 remaining on the clock. The WildCats then answered with a 3-pointer from Brian Smith to push their lead to nine, 30-21.

Sami El-Rafey hit two foul shots for the Eagles, but Jacoby hit a jumper and Justin Dula scored inside off an assist from Ryan Fields as the hosts pushed the lead to double digits, 34-23, with 1:39 left in the half.

After an Eagles turnover, Drew Hayden knocked down a 3-pointer to send Randolph to the half with a 37-23 lead.

Randolph (5-16, 2-10 in the ODAC) scored the first three points of the second half to lead by 17 before a 3-pointer by Chandler Murray cut the deficit to 40-26. Fields and Smith hit back-to-back hoops for a 44-26 Randolph lead with 17:35 left in the game.

Murray and Randolph's Colton Lee traded jumpers before an 8-0 Bridgewater run trimmed the deficit to 10 points. A dunk by Davrion Grier ignited the flurry and then Dimetri Chambers hit consecutive 3-pointers to pull the Eagles to within 46-36 with 14 minutes remaining.

The Wildcats, however, answered the Eagles run with a 10-0 spurt of their own over the next two minutes to open up a 20-point lead, 56-36, with 12 minutes left.

Still trailing by 20, 58-38, with 10 minutes left, the Eagles went on 17-6 run to cut the lead back to single digits.

A layup by Ken Stanciel and a three-point play by Grier trimmed the margin to 15 points. Two foul shots by Fields and a layup by Nick Goble increased the Randolph lead back to 19 points, 62-43, with seven minutes left, but Miles Barrett knocked down a 3-pointer and added two foul shots to slice the margin to 62-48.

Dula made a pair of foul shots for the WildCats before seven straight points by the Eagles cut the margin down to nine. Cammon took a dish from Barrett and drained a 3-pointer and then Barrett tacked on a layup, making the score 64-53. After Fields missed a jumper for the WildCats, El-Rafey made two foul shots to pull the Eagles to within nine, 64-55, with 2:57 left.

A jumper by Fields and two foul shots by Smith put the Cats out front by 13 points, but Murray hit a long 3-pointer to cut the WildCats lead to 68-58, with 2:02 left.

That, however, would be as close as the Eagles would get as the WildCats closed out the contest to take the 73-60 victory.

Chambers led the Eagles with 12 points while Grier and Barrett added nine points each. Fields poured in 24 points to lead the winners and Hooper added 18.

Bridgewater returns to action Wednesday night when the Eagles host rival Eastern Mennonite. Tip-off at Nininger Hall is set for 7:00 p.m.