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No. 3 Wittenberg Stops Eagles

Monte Simpkins shoots for the Eagles.

BRIDGEWATER, Va. - Third-ranked Wittenberg heated up from the floor in the second half Saturday afternoon to pull away from Bridgewater 96-74 on the first day of the annual Don Glick Classic at Nininger Hall.

Bridgewater led for much of the first half and trailed by just six 43-37 at the break. The Tigers hit the Eagles with a 22-7 run in the first five minutes of the second half and the led the rest of the way for the final 96-74 margin.

The visitors shot 54.1 percent from the field in the second half, making 20-of-37 shots. The Tigers also made more than 50 percent of their 3-point attempts in the second half, knocking down 8-of-15.

There were six lead changes and four ties in the first nine minutes of action. 

With the score tied at 21-21, Chandler Murray scored from long range and Will Bowser drove the lane for a layup to put the Eagles up 26-21 with 10:41 left in the first half. James Johnson scored for the Tigers, but Fletcher Jackson answered with a layup to keep the Eagles in front by five points. After another bucket by Wittenberg's Johnson, Monte Simpkins made two foul shots and Bowser again found his way to the basket for a layup, giving Bridgewater its biggest lead, 32-25, with 8:39 left in the first half.

A free throw by Murray kept the Eagles out front, 36-30, but Wittenberg scored the next seven points to regain the lead 37-36. Simpkins made 1-of-2 at the line to tie the score with 1:32 left in the half, but the Tigers scored the next six points to lead 43-37 at halftime.

Jake Bertemes scored on a backdoor cut to open the second half before Bridgewater's Davrion Grier responded with a short jumper in the lane to pull the Eagles to within six, 45-39.

Wittenberg (6-0) then reeled off eight straight points to open a 53-39 lead with 17:50 left in the game. Jalil Langston then scored for the Eagles, but Johnson hit from 3-point range, making the score 56-41. After Liam Caswell hit 1-of-2 foul shots for the Eagles, Rasheed Ali-Shakir and Johnson hit back-to-back threes for a 62-42 Tigers lead with 15:59 left in the game. 

Big man Connor Seipel paced the Tigers with 26 points and 11 rebounds. The 6-foot-6 senior entered the game averaging 19.2 points and 12.0 rebounds per contest. Johnson added 24 points and Bertemes finished with 14.

Bridgewater's backcourt led the way for the Eagles as Bowser scored 20 points and Murray added 18. Simpkins came off the bench to score 15 points.

The Eagles (3-6) return to action Sunday afternoon when they host The Apprentice School on Day 2 of the Don Glick Classic. Apprentice dropped its opener Saturday to Eastern Mennonite, losing 90-80 in overtime.