BRIDGEWATER, Va. – Bridgewater's Jesse Case and Bryce Boggs combined for 34 points Saturday afternoon to send the Eagles to the holiday break with a 71-62 non-conference victory over Southern Virginia University.
The visiting Knights scored the first six points of the game before the Eagles settled in and took the lead with a 9-2 run. Phil Baumgartner came off the bench and knocked down a pair of 3-pointers and Case added a jumper to tie the score. Zach Kopp made 1-of-2 at the foul line for a 9-8 Eagles lead with 15:09 left in the first half.
Southern Virginia (2-7) regained the lead on two foul shots from Rashay Douglas, but the Eagles scored the next seven points to lead 16-10. Efe Balfour and Boggs sandwiched layups around a Case 3-pointer to give the Eagles a six-point lead.
A 3-pointer by Keonte Dennis gave Bridgewater its biggest lead of the first half, 24-16, but then the Knights hit the Eagles with a 9-0 run to lead 25-24 with 4:32 left in the half.
Essex Thompson scored from 3-point range to put the Eagles back on top before a layup by the Knights' Tyler McCreadie tied the score at 27-27.
A free throw by Thompson gave the Eagles a one-point lead before Kellen Winslow scored on a 15-footer to put the Knights up 29-28. Case then knocked down a 3-pointer and Boggs made 1-of-2 at the foul line for a 32-29 Eagles' lead. Michael Price connected on two foul shots with five seconds left, pulling the Knights to within 32-31 at the break.
Two early second-half buckets by Aarun Rumbaugh pushed the Knights ahead, 35-32, but Case scored again from 3-point land to tie the score at 35-35. The Eagles took the lead for good on a layup by Balfour and a dunk by Boggs and a jumper by Kevin Saylor put the advantage at six, 41-35, with 15:14 remaining.
Bridgewater (5-4) led 52-47 before a 5-0 run pushed the margin to double digits. Boggs hit two foul shots and a layup and Dennis added 1-of-2 from the foul line for a 57-47 lead with 5:43 left in the game.
A 3-pointer by Case at the 4:23 mark gave Bridgewater its biggest lead of the game, 60-49. The Knights would get no closer than seven points the rest of the way as the Eagles finished off the 71-62 victory.
Case came off the bench and hit 5-of-8 3-pointers to lead the Eagles with 19 points. Boggs was 9-of-13 at the foul line and finished with 15 points. Price scored 13 to lead the Knights and Douglas added 12.
Southern Virginia won the battle on the boards by a 45-33 margin. Rumbaugh pulled down 11 boards for the visitors while Balfour grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds for Bridgewater. The Eagles made up for the deficit on the glass by forcing 22 Southern Virginia turnovers. The Eagles turned the ball over 14 times.
Bridgewater got big contributions off the bench with 33 points and seven steals. In addition to Case's 19, Thompson scored seven while Baumgartner added six points and five steals.
Bridgewater returns to action with a trip to New York following the Christmas break. The Eagles will play in the 16th Annual Tournament of Heroes hosted by the College of Staten Island on Dec. 29-30. The Eagles will play the host Dolphins on the first day of the tournament while a pair of teams receiving national recognition will square off in other first-day action. Illinois Wesleyan, ranked No. 21 in the current D3hoops.com Top 25 will face Middlebury, a team receiving votes and ranked just outside the Top 25. The consolation and championship games will be played on Dec. 30.