BRIDGEWATER, Va. – Randolph College used a late 11-0 spurt to open up a 12-point lead and the WildCats defeated Bridgewater College, 88-80, Monday evening in the first round of the ODAC Men's Basketball Tournament at Nininger Hall.
The Eagles fell behind early, trailing 17-10 with 13:56 left in the first half. The Eagles chipped away at the margin and closed the gap to two points, 19-17, with 10:24 on the clock. After a bucket by Randolph's Tremaine Pugh put the WildCats up 21-17, Bridgewater reeled off 12 unanswered points to take its biggest lead of the game.
A 3-pointer by Jimmie Sanders pulled the Eagles to within a point and a 3-pointer by Dimetri Chambers put Bridgewater ahead 23-21 with 9:16 left in the half. Two free throws by Ken Stanciel made it 25-21 and a 1-of-2 trip to the foul line by Monte Simpkins put the Eagles up 26-21. Josh Cammon the knocked down a 3-ball and the Eagles led by eight, 29-21, with 6:48 remaining in the opening half.
The WildCats answered with a 14-4 spurt to overtake the Eagles. CJ Loving scored inside to pull the Cats even at 33-33 and another Loving bucket moved Randolph ahead 35-33 with 2:54 on the clock.
A jumper by Cammon tied the score and a layup by Davrion Grier gave the Eagles a 37-35 lead with 1:43 on the clock. Brian Smith made 1-of-2 at the line to pull the Cats to within a point before Chambers hit 1-of- 2 for the Eagles as the first half ended with Bridgewater leading 38-36.
The teams battled back and forth throughout the first 15 minutes of the second half with the score tied seven times plus a total of seven lead changes.
The final tie came at the 8:41 mark when Simpkins scored on a stickback to pull Bridgewater even at 62-62. Smith then hit a big 3-pointer to give Randolph the lead for keeps, 65-62.
Chandler Murray's layup in traffic pulled the Eagles to within a point, 65-64, but Smith drove the lane for a layup, giving the WildCats a 67-64 edge.
Grier scored inside to once again pull the Eagles to within a point, 67-66, but the WildCats then went on what proved to be a decisive 11-0 run to take a 12-point lead. Loving and Justin Dula scored inside and Sammy Hooper connected on a 3-pointer from the left corner, putting the Cats up 74-66. Smith added a 15-footer and Elijah Ford scored inside to cap the run, giving Randolph a 78-66 lead with just 3:57 left to play.
Smith scored 18 of his game-high 27 points in the second half to lead the Wildcats. Loving came off the bench to add 20 points while Hooper netted 15 points and Dula finished with 10.
Grier made 9-of-11 shots and led the Eagles with 22 points. Cammon scored 19, followed by Stanciel with 15 and Chambers with 12.
Randolph owned the boards by a 50-33 margin with Smith completing a double-double with a team-high 10 rebounds. Chambers led the Eagles with nine rebounds.
With the loss, Bridgewater ended its season with a 12-14 record. Randolph (12-14) advances to play the top seed, Randolph-Macon, in the quarterfinal round on Thursday.