BRIDGEWATER, Va.- Looking for its first win of the season, the Randolph men's basketball teams traveled to Bridgewater on Wednesday night to begin conference play. The WildCats came close at the end but the host Eagles were able to come away with victory as they held off the 'Cats 76-72.
Bridgewater improves to 2-3 overall and 1-0 in the ODAC. Randolph is now 0-5 and 0-1 in the league.
With the score knotted at 6-6 early in the first half, Randolph went on a 10-3 run to break the tie and go ahead 16-9 with 12:25 on the game clock. Bridgewater was able to cut the deficit to 16-15 at 10:32 and eventually went up 20-18. The advantage jumped to 26-20 but the 'Cats were able to keep it at four points, 33-29, thanks to a pair of three-point shots by Colton Lee (Raleigh, N.C./North Raleigh Christian Academy) at 2:40. Three straight layups by the Eagles' Josh Cammon, however, upped the home team's lead to 39-29 with 1:22 showing on the clock. Reid Jacoby (Richmond, Va./Benedictine) ended the scoring for the half on a layup with 14 ticks left as Bridgewater held a 39-31 lead at the break.
Randolph started off the second half of play with a 9-2 run to close the gap to three points, 42-39, at 16:14. Bridgewater answered with a six-point spurt to increase the lead to 48-39 but the WildCats came back to make it 48-43.
Bridgewater kept its distance from the WildCats and went ahead 60-50 with under 10 minutes remaining in the contest. Eight straight points by the 'Cats, including six from Chase VanHorn (Forest, Va./Jefferson Forest), would make it a one-possession game, 60-58, with 7:51 remaining. The Eagles started to pull away but Randolph kept persisting with another eight-point run that ended with the game tied at 66-66 with 3:46 to go.
It was a one-point game, 71-70, with 1:27 showing on the clock after a Justin Dula (Taylorsville, N.C./Alexander Central) layup. Bridgewater upped the score to 75-70 with 21 seconds left and another Dula layup got the 'Cats to 75-72 with seven ticks remaining. Randolph had a chance to tie with a three-point try but did not get the chance and Bridgewater's Zach Breathwaite sank the second of two free throw attempts with under a second remaining to clinch the Eagle win.
"We looked really good tonight in spurts," said head coach Pete Hamilton. "I was pleased with how we responded after halftime having gone into the locker room feeling like we left a lot out there."
Dula led the way for the WildCats with 15 points on 7-of-10 shooting and was a rebounds short of a double-double as he pulled down nine boards. Sammy Hooper (Richmond, Va./Midlothian) added 12 points and seven rebounds. Andy Toe (Manassas, Va./Stonewall Jackson) came off the bench to score 10 points in 16 minutes of playing time to go along with four rebounds and a steal. In his first game action of the season, Jacoby scored eight points and dished out a team-high seven assists.
"Brandon Schlick (Virginia Beach, Va./Greenbrier Christian Academy) (7 pts) did a nice job stepping into a role tonight and that was encouraging," Hamilton noted. It was also great to have one of our leaders return to the court in Reid Jacoby. You can never question that guy's toughness and as he continues to get back into a rhythm, he will only make the guys around him better."
Overall, Randolph's shooting was just above Bridgewater's 46-45.8%. The Eagles held a 32.1% from behind the three-point arc to the WildCats' 31.8%. Bridgewater went13-of-17 (76.5%) from the free throw line as Randolph was 7-of-13 (53.8%).
Rebounds favored the WIldCats 37-34. Second chance points were 19-11 Randolph.
The WildCats travel to Tennessee to take on Maryville in non-conference play this Saturday. Game time will be at 2:00 p.m.