Bridgewater basketball upsets #20 Hampden-Sydney, 65-57
Bridgewater College held Hampden-Sydney to 38 percent shooting from the floor and forced 18 turnovers Saturday afternoon as the Eagles knocked off the 20th-ranked Tigers 65-57 in Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) men’s basketball action at Nininger Hall.
“I was really pleased with our consistent energy and communication at the defensive end,” Eagles head coach Don Burgess said. “We had a defensive plan and the guys stuck to it. And, it helps when you make some shots. If you make some shots you have an opportunity to set your defense.”
The Tigers got off to a quick start, taking a 5-0 lead. Leon Hargrove banked on a runner and Fletcher Lumpkin converted an offensive rebound into an easy bucket to make it 4-0. Williamson then hit 1-of-2 at the foul line to put the Tigers on top 5-0.
Bridgewater took its first lead on a 3-pointer by Zach Hunter and a jumper by Stapleton put the Eagles up, 11-7.
A 3-pointer by Michael Murray and a layup by Stephen Vassor put the Tigers up by one before a 3-pointer byKenneth Waugh with 10:37 left gave Bridgewater a 14-12 lead.
A layup by Lumpkin tied the score, but a jumper by Aaron Adams with 9:59 left gave the Eagles a 16-14 lead and they never trailed again.
Bridgewater took its biggest lead of the first half when Matthew Hunter knocked down a short jumper to put the Eagles up 32-26 with 2:30 left.
The teams traded points and two free throws by the Tigers’ Brandon LaRose with one tick left on the clock pulled the visitors to within four, 34-30, at the break
After two foul shots by Sydney’s Mitchell Owens, Stapleton knocked down a jumper and Zach Hunter scored in the lane to stretch the lead to nine, 45-36, with 14:58 left.
After a Tigers’ turnover, Stapleton made 1-of-2 foul shots to push the margin to double figures for the first time, 46-36.
The Eagles expanded the lead to 12 on two occasions, but the Tigers remained within striking distance.
Bridgewater led 53-42 with 7:59 left, but a 13-5 run by the Tigers cut the lead to three, 58-55 with 3:26remaining.
After a 3-pointer by Murray cut the Eagles lead to 58-55, Reddick scored on a jumper to push the lead to five, 60-55 with 2:29 remaining.
The teams traded empty possessions until two free throws by Williamson trimmed the margin back to three points with 53 seconds left.
Reddick then scored a big bucket for a five-point Eagles lead, and after Murray misfired from 3-point range, Aaron Adams hit two free throws, giving Bridgewater a 64-57 lead with 18 seconds left.
“In the past these same guys have lost some games just like this one,” Burgess said. “Hampden-Sydney made a run just like all good teams do, but we showed some mental toughness and stepped up and made plays when we needed to. Before the year started I talked about how these guys are battle tested and today they showed that to be the case.”
Stapleton led the Eagles with 15 points while Reddick and Thomas each added 11. Bridgewater made 24-of-49 shots from the field for 49 percent accuracy.
The Tigers held a big advantage on the boards, 42-29, with Williamson leading the way with 13. Powell and Reddick each grabbed six rebounds for the Eagles and McClain added five.
“We got beat on the boards but we worked hard on the boards the entire game,” Burgess said. “We fought and were able to come up with some key rebounds when we needed them.”
The Eagles also did a solid job of taking care of the basketball, turning the rock over just seven times.
“I know coaches say this all the time, but today really was a good team win,” added Burgess. “To beat a talented team like Hampden-Sydney we need contributions from a lot of people. Today you can look at our guards who took care of the basketball and you can look at guys like Romie and Boomer (McClain) who battled inside all day against their big men. I think we only played nine guys today and each one made positive contributions.”
The Eagles are now 3-2 overall and 1-1 in the ODAC. Bridgewater now takes a break for exams before returning to action Friday for the annual Don Glick Classic at Nininger Hall.
Bridgewater gets another chance to play a nationally-recognized team when it hosts North Central in Friday’s 8 p.m. game. North Central was ranked No. 6 in the D3hoops.com preseason Top 25. The Cardinals have dropped out of the rankings after a 3-2 start, but they are still receiving votes for the Top 25.
In Friday evening’s first game Eastern Mennonite plays Virginia Intermont. On Saturday, Bridgewater and Eastern Mennonite will switch opponents.
Fans can receive free admission each day if they bring a canned food item to the game. All proceeds from the food drive will benefit the local food pantry during the holiday season.