Generals pull away down the stretch to stop Eagles

bridgewater eaglesWashington and Lee pulled away down the stretch Wednesday evening to hand the Bridgewater College Eagles a 74-55 defeat in ODAC men’s basketball action played at Nininger Hall.

Both teams struggled to find the range in the opening half. The Eagles made just 6-of-20 shots for 30 percent while W&L was a tick below that mark at 8-for-27 for 29.6 percent.

Bridgewater (3-10, 2-3 ODAC) turned the ball over 11 times in the opening half and made just 6-of-15 free throws to trail by 14 points, 34-20, at the half.

Washington and Lee (8-5, 2-3 ODAC) took advantage of frequent trips to the foul line where the Generals made 17-of-24 attempts in the first half to help offset their cold shooting performance from the field.

Bridgewater opened the second half with a quick 9-0 run to pull within five. Kevin Saylor fed Efe Balfour for an easy bucket inside and Jesse Case followed with a 3-pointer. Case was fouled on the shot and tacked on the free throw for a four-point play, slicing the W&L lead to eight. Following a Generals turnover, Case cashed again from beyond the arc, pulling the Eagles to within five, 34-29, with 17:12 left in the game.

The Generals then responded with a 5-0 spurt to push the advantage back to double figures, 39-29. BC’sRomello Crowell and Saylor scored buckets to trim the deficit to six before two free throws by W&L’s Andy Kleinlein pushed the margin to 41-33. Logan Seacrist scored from in close for the Eagles, but Roy McMillan answered with a layup to keep the Generals lead at eight, 43-35.

The Eagles continued to chip away at the deficit and pulled to within three when Case hit a 3-pointer and a layup, making the score 43-40 with 10:57 remaining.

Nicholas George started a 7-0 Generals spurt with a layup as the visitors moved ahead by 10. Kleinlein scored from 3-point range and Devin Kearns drove the lane for a layup, giving W&L a 50-40 lead with 9:22 to play.

The Eagles stayed within striking distance and when Cameron Thurston hit two free throws, Bridgewater was down by just nine, 55-46, with 5:47 left to play.

W&L then hit the Eagles with a decisive 8-0 run to take a 17-point lead with 4:01 left. Clayton Murtha powered inside for a bucket and Joe Sherwood made 1-of-2 at the line, making the score 58-46. Sherwood added a layup and Kearns knocked down an open 3-pointer to make it 63-46.

Case led the Eagles with 13 points and Saylor added 11 points and a team-high six rebounds.

The Eagles held Murtha, W&L’s leading scorer, to just 11 points – six below his season average. The Generals backcourt of Kearns and Kleinlein picked up the slack as the duo combined for 26 points. McMillan also gave the visitors a boost off the bench with 10 points.

Bridgewater returns to action Saturday afternoon when the Eagles travel to Lynchburg College. Game time is set for 4:30 p.m.

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