BRIDGEWATER, Va. - No. 16 ranked Randolph-Macon escaped Bridgewater's upset bid Wednesday evening as the Yellow Jackets outlasted the Eagles, 87-79, in overtime at Nininger Hall.
The Yellow Jackets threatened to turn the game into a rout in the first half as the Eagles were plagued by turnovers and a cold-shooting touch. Bridgewater turned the ball over 13 times while shooting just 21 percent in the first half. The Eagles hit just 1-of-10 shots from 3-point range.
Randolph-Macon (15-2, 7-1 in the ODAC) used a 14-2 run to take a 31-12 lead with 6:01 left in the half. The Yellow Jackets took their biggest lead, 35-14, when Buzz Anthony hit two foul shots with 5:28 left on the first half clock.Bridgewater outscored the visitors 8-3 during the remainder of the half to trail 38-22 at the break.
The second half was a different story as Bridgewater shot better than 50 percent from the floor (15-for-28) while hitting 8-of-17 (47.1 percent) from 3-point range. The Eagles also did a better job taking care of the basketball, turning the ball over just five times in the second half. As a result, the Eagles slowly chipped away at Randolph-Macon's double-digit lead.
After the Yellow Jackets pushed the margin back to 18 points, Bridgewater whittled away at the deficit and pulled to within 10 points, 43-33, when Dimetri Chambers knocked down a 3-pointer with 14:57 left in the game.
The Eagles finally trimmed the margin to single digits at the 9:30 mark when TJ Turner scored from long range, making the score 52-43.
Randolph-Macon increased its cushion back to 15 points before Josh Cammon hit a 3-pointer and a layup to pull the Eagles back to within 10, 58-48.
The Yellow Jackets' lead was still 10 points, 64-54, with 3:57 remaining. Two foul shots by Davrion Grier and a steal and layup in traffic by Cammon sliced the margin to six points, 64-58.
After Chandler Murray made 1-of-2 foul shots, Cammon converted a three-point play to make it a one-possession game, 64-62, with 2:45 left.
Buzz Anthony hit two foul shots for the Jackets, but Jimmie Sanders hit from beyond the arc to make it a one-point game, 66-65.
Luke Neeley then hit a big jumper to put the Yellow Jackets up by three with just 40 seconds remaining. Chambers answered when he knocked down an offf-balance 3-pointer from the left wing to tie the score at 68-68 with 14 seconds on the clock.
Following a timeout, Macon put the ball in Anthony's hands, but his 15-footer with five seconds left hit the front of the rim. Chambers grabbed the rebound and advanced to near midcourt, but his 50-footer at the buzzer was short as the teams headed to overtime.
The Yellow Jackets controlled the tip and Corey Bays hit from long range, giving the Jackets a quick 71-68 lead. Murray missed a 3-pointer for the Eagles and Grayson Midulla scored on a layup, putting the visitors back up by five points, 73-68, just one minute into the extra session.
A layup by Grier timmed the margin to three before another Midulla layup made the score 75-70. Chambers pulled the Eagles back to within three with his layup, but Bays answered for the Yellow Jackets to put the lead back to five, 77-72.
The Eagles then turned the ball over and Neeley knocked down a big 3-pointer to push the advantage to eight, 80-72, with just 1:31 left in overtime. The Yellow Jackets made 7-of-9 foul shots down the stretch to ice the 87-79 victory.
Grier paced the Eagles with 17 points while Cammon and Sanders each finished with 16. Chambers scored 12 points and Turner added 10 off the bench for the Eagles.
The Yellow Jackets also placed five players in double figures with Bays leading the way with 17 points. Anthony scored 16 points, followed by Neeley with 13, Midulla with 12 and Terry Woods with 11.
Bridgewater, now 7-10 overall and 2-6 in the ODAC, is back in action Saturday when the Eagles travel to Greensboro, N.C., to play Guilford College.