BRIDGEWATER – Bridgewater freshman guard Dimetri Chambers penetrated the Eastern Mennonite defense and scored what proved to be the winning layup with just 13.3 seconds left in the game, lifting the Eagles to a 68-66 victory over their crosstown rival.
The victory gives the Eagles a season sweep over the EMU, the first time that's happened since the 2008-09 season. Bridgewater is now 13-9 overall and 7-6 in the ODAC while the Royals fall to 9-11, 4-9 in the ODAC.
The winning shot capped a brilliant second-half performance by Chambers as he scored 23 of his season-high 28 points in the final 20 minutes.
Both teams struggled to find their shooting touch in the first half with the Royals shooting 35.5 percent from the floor while the Eagles connected on just 31 percent. At the break, EMU held a 31-24 lead.
Leading 34-31 early in the second half, the Royals used an 8-0 spurt to open up an 11-point, 42-31 lead. EMU started taking the ball to the hole and inside buckets by RaShawn Latimer and Maleke Jones put the visitors on top 38-31. Isaiah Harris-Winn knocked down a jumper and Xavier McCants drove inside for a layup to push the lead to 11 points with 15:37 left to play.
Over the next three minutes, Chambers hit the Royals with a personal 11-0 scoring flurry to pull the Eagles even. The first-year guard started the run with a 3-pointer and then added four straight foul shots to trim the margin to four, 42-38. Chandler Murray then found Chambers open in the left corner and he knocked down the 3-pointer while being fouled. Chambers tacked on the free throw to complete the four-point play, pulling the Eagles even at 42-42 with 12:32 left.
After Mark James put the Eagles ahead, 45-43, with two free throws, Harris-Winn drained back-to-back 3-pointers for a 49-45 EMU lead with 8:58 remaining. EMU maintained a slim lead until Chambers scored from beyond the arc, tying the score at 53-53 with 6:46 left.
A layup by Chambers pushed the Eagles ahead 57-56 and a 3-pointer by TJ Turner gave Bridgewater a 60-56 advantage at the 4:24 mark.
Two free throws by Sammy Thomas pulled the Royals to within a point before Ken Stanciel scored after grabbing an offensive rebound to give the Eagles a 62-59 lead with 3:40 left.
The teams traded empty trips to the offensive end until Latimer took the ball to hole and converted a three-point play to draw the Royals even at 62-62 with 2:53 left to play.
Chambers penetrated and scored at the rim to put the Eagles back on top, but Latimer answered for the Royals, tying the score once again at 64-64 with 2:28 remaining.
Chambers missed a short jumper in the lane on Bridgewater's next possession, but he chased down the rebound and dished to Stanciel for a layup, putting the Eagles up by a bucket, 66-64, with 1:25 remaining.
The Royals then turned the ball over as Chambers came away with one of his seven steals, but the Eagles were unable to extend the lead as Murray missed an open look at a 3-pointer and the ball went out of bounds to the Royals.
EMU then tied the game when Maleke Jones fed Thomas in the post for a dunk to even things up at 66-66 with 53 seconds to go.
Chambers missed a layup in traffic, but Davrion Grier pulled down the offensive rebound to give the Eagles another possession. This time Chambers converted a layup under pressure with just 13.3 seconds left, giving the Eagles a 68-66 lead.
The Eagles then turned in a strong defensive stand on the final possession, forcing Maleke Jones to put up a contested 3-pointer from well beyond the arc just before the buzzer. The shot came up short as the Eagles escaped with the two-point victory to sweep the season series from EMU.
Chambers was the lone Bridgewater player in double figures. Zach Breathwaite and Stanciel each finished with eight points. Latimer led the Royals with 18 points and Harris-Winn finished with 11.
EMU won the rebounding battle by a 44-39 margin. Latimer completed a double-double with a game-high 10 rebounds. Grier pulled down seven boards for the Eagles.
The Eagles are back in action Saturday afternoon when they host Hampden-Sydney in the final home game of the regular season. Tip-off is set for 2:00 p.m.