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Balanced Scoring Leads Eagles Past Ferrum College, 88-83

Will Bowser takes a shot.

BRIDGEWATER, Va. – Bridgewater College placed five players in double figures Saturday afternoon and slipped past Ferrum College, 88-83, in ODAC action.

Davrion Grier continued his strong play, leading the Eagles with 25 points while also grabbing six rebounds. Will Bowser came off the bench and poured in a career-high 22 points and backcourt mate Chandler Murray had 18 points, seven rebounds, eight assists and no turnovers. Monte Simpkins scored 11 points and pulled in a team-high eight rebounds while Liam Caswell reached double figures for the fourth straight game with 10 points.

The visiting Panthers led for much of the first half and took their biggest lead when James Smith, Jr. scored inside to make it 25-16 with 8:28 left.

Bridgewater chipped away at the margin and overtook the Panthers with an 18-8 scoring run. The Eagles pulled to within a bucket on a layup by Grier and a 3-pointer by Murray pushed the Eagles ahead, 34-33, with 58 seconds left in the first half.

Bowser knocked down a 3-pointer with 12 seconds left to put the Eagles up four, but Smith scored at the buzzer as the half ended with the Eagles holding a 37-35 lead.

Ferrum (6-6, 1-2 in the ODAC) took a 53-50 lead in the second half, but the Eagles answered to tie the score at 54-54 on a layup by Grier with 10:32 left to play.

The lead changed hands three times before a 3-pointer by Caswell at the 7:45 mark put the Eagles back out front to stay, 63-60.

The Eagles stretched the lead to eight points, 77-69, when Simpkins made two foul shots with 4:49 remaining in the game. The Panthers, however, continued to battle.

After Bowser made 1-of-2 free throws for a 79-74 lead, Ferrum scored the next four points to make it a one-point game. Marcus Plair scored after grabbing an offensive rebound and, after getting a defensive stop, Smith hit two foul shots to trim Bridgewater's lead to 79-78 with :59 seconds left.

Caswell then drove hard to the basket and converted a key layup under pressure to extend the lead. Caswell was fouled on the shot and tacked on the free throw to complete the three-point play, giving the Eagles an 82-78 lead with 46 seconds left to play.

Two foul shots by Smith cut the margin to two, 82-80, and the Panthers elected to play defense and not foul on the Eagles' next possession. Murray drove into the lane and dished off to Grier for a layup, putting the Eagles up 84-80 with 20 seconds on the clock.

The Panthers were not finished as Smith converted a three-point play to once again make it a one-point game. Bowser was fouled with nine seconds left and made two clutch free throws to put the Eagles up by three, 86-83.

Ferrum had a look to tie, but Rashad Reed's 3-pointer was off the mark and Bowser grabbed the rebound with two seconds left. Bowser added two more foul shots, making the final score 88-83.

Smith scored 28 points to lead the Panthers and Reed added 18.

A strong shooting display proved to be the difference for Bridgewater. The Eagles made 29-of-53 shots (54.7 percent), including 11-of-26 from 3-point range (42.3 percent). Bridgewater also made 19-of-25 foul shots.

Ferrum won the rebounding battle by a 43-31 margin and grabbed 20 boards at the offensive end. The Panthers took 22 more shots than the Eagles but made just 42.7 percent (32-of-75.)

Bridgewater, now 6-7 overall and 2-2 in the ODAC, returns to action Wednesday night when they travel to Lexington, Va., to meet Washington and Lee in conference play.