ARLINGTON, Va. - Bridgewater went toe-to-toe with Montclair State in the season-opener Saturday before the Eagles fell in a high-scoring shootout, 112-101, in the first round of the Pablo Coto Tournament hosted by Marymount University.
Bridgewater kept the deficit in single digits the entire first half and trailed by eight, 57-49 at the break. Montclair State used an early spurt in the second half to increase the lead to 14 points, 64-50 at the 17:46 mark, forcing the Eagles to play catch-up for the rest of the game.
The Eagles weathered the early run and pulled to within four, 75-71, on a layup by Davrion Grier with 11:53 left in the game. The lead was eight, 87-79, before a dunk by Grier and a 3-pointer by TJ Turner made it a one-possession game, 87-84, with 7:58 remaining.
Montclair State then hit the Eagles with a 16-2 spurt to take its biggest lead of the game, 103-86, with 5:10 left to play.
Bridgewater had one run left as an 11-1 spurt cut the margin to seven. Chandler Murray knocked down a 3-pointer before Montclair's Nate Nahirny and Bridgewater's Kellen Hodge exchanged 1-for-2 trips to the foul line, making the score 104-90 with 4:21 to go.
Layups by Will Bowser and Grier trimmed the margin to 10 points, 104-94, with 2:35 left. Murray hit another 3-pointer, making the score 104-97, but Jalen Parham answered with a 3-pointer for Montclair, ending the Eagles run and pushing the margin back to 10, 107-97, with 1:37 remaining.
The Eagles shot a blistering 57.8 percent from the field (37-of-64) but 24 turnovers against the Montclair State pressure proved to be too much to overcome.
Grier made 11-of-14 shots from the floor to lead the Eagles with a career-high 27 points. The senior forward posted a double-double, finishing with 11 boards. First-year forward Jalil Langston turned in an impressive performance in his collegiate debut with 26 points. Murray also posted a double-double with 17 points and a career-high 13 rebounds. Liam Cassell netted a career-high 15 points and Turner added 13.
Montclair State put seven players in double figures, led by Nahirny's 26 points.
The Eagles will play in the consolation game Sunday at noon against the host Marymount Saints. Wilkes defeated the Saints, 73-65.