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Eagles’ Second Half Run Downs WildCats

CJ Loving driving towards the basket
CJ Loving scored eight points while picking up five rebounds and three assists against the Eagles.

BRIDGEWATER, Va.- The Randolph men's basketball team faced off against Bridgewater in the  second meeting of the season between the two teams on Saturday. The WildCats trailed only by four points at halftime but the Eagles used a big second half to pull away and win by the score of 91-67.

The Eagles jumped on the WildCats early in the first half as they got out to a 17-6 lead. A 9-2 WildCat run quickly cut the lead to 19-15 with just over 10 minutes remaining on the clock.

Randolph was able to whittle its deficit to one point, 25-24, with 4:23 to go in the half. A 7-2 run gave the 'Cats their first lead of the game at 29-27 with 3:24 left. Bridgewater was able to reclaim the lead it lost and was up 35-31 at the break.

In the second half, BC scored the first basket 11 seconds in to go up 37-31. CJ Loving (Madison Heights, Va./Amherst County) hit a layup, was fouled, and converted the free throw to close the gap to 37-34. A three from Loving followed by a layup from Brian Smith (Dumfries, Va./C.D. Hylton) brought the score to 40-39 with 17:48 to play as Randolph looked to go on top of the Eagles.

Bridgewater slowly built up its lead as it expanded to double digits, 55-44, with 13:03 left. Five straight points from Randolph, capped off by a three from Jerry Goodman (Suffolk, Va./Portsmouth Christian School), made it a two-possession contest, 55-49, with 12:08 remaining. The Eagles then mounted a big 22-8 run, which at one point was 10-0, to break the game open and lead 79-59 with less than four minutes left.

"We let some bad breaks and tougher plays by Bridgewater turn into a lack of focus and missed assignments," said head coach Pete Hamilton. "Those things started to build and offensively we weren't able to keep up tonight. We've been trying to learn lessons on detail since our season opener. We've still got ground to cover there and it will continue to bite us if we can't progress in execution of our principles and the speed at which we do it."

In the second half, Bridgewater was 22-of-42 (52.4%) from the field and hit half of its three-point attempts. Overall, the Eagles were 37-of-74 (50%) to Randolph's 23-of-68 (33.8%). Three-point shooting favored the home team 36.7%-16.7%. The 'Cats did fare better than the Eagles at the charity stripe with a 17-of-25 (68%) performance compared to 6-of-12 (50%) for BC.

Rebounds went to Bridgewater 48-46. The Eagles took advantage of 17 Randolph turnovers and turned it into 18 points. The Eagles controlled the paint 48-34 and had a 33-30 edge in bench points.

Justin Dula (Taylorsville, N.C./Alexander Central) led WildCats starters with nine points and eight rebounds while also picking up two assists and two steals. Loving tallied eight points, five rebounds, and three assists. Drew Hayden (Vinton, Va./William Byrd) nearly had a double-double with nine points and nine rebounds.

The WildCats are back in action next Saturday December 15 when they host Southern Virginia. Game time is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.