BC Beats No. 15

Eagles Handle Va. Wesleyan, 78-65

Posted: January 9, 2014

BC’s Aaron Adams eyes the basket as Virginia Wesleyan’s Kaelin Poe defends Wednesday night. (Photo by Michael Reilly / DN-R)

BRIDGEWATER – Making his way to the bench on a timeout, Tavis Stapleton put his hands together at midcourt and looked up toward the rafters. He wasn’t channeling divine intervention for a future play. It was more of a thankful prayer.

Moments earlier, with the shot clock winding thin, Stapleton elevated in a hurry from the wing and banked in a 3-pointer with 3:56 to go, staking Bridgewater College to an 11-point lead against Virginia Wesleyan, ranked No. 15 in Division III basketball.

“Hey, I’m just grateful, man. I’m just thankful,” Stapleton said of the play. “… Once it left my hands, I knew it was going to bank in.”

It was the kind of shot BC had struggled with, shooting 19 percent from beyond the arc coming into the game, against a team they weren’t supposed to beat.

But they did, rather comfortably.

Stapleton led four Eagles in double figures with 19 points and had 13 rebounds as Bridgewater shot 51.7 percent to beat the Marlins 78-65 Wednesday night in an Old Dominion Athletic Conference contest following a nine-day break.

“It’s amazing when we make shots,” BC coach Don Burgess said. “… Our 10 games coming in, defensively, we’ve been playing well. We just haven’t been shooting the ball well.”

It was a sharp turnaround against the Marlins (9-3 overall, 2-1 in the ODAC), the second ranked team to fall at Nininger Hall this season. The Eagles (7-4, 2-1) also beat then-No. 20 Hampden-Sydney.

“We came out flat today and they shot the heck out of it,” said VWC senior guard DJ Woodmore, who was averaging 23.8 points per game. “We’ve got to give them a lot of credit. Their big-time players made big plays.”

Woodmore, the second-leading scorer in the ODAC, earned his first points of the game on a short jumper in the paint with 1:37 to go in the first half. He finished with 11 points and eight rebounds. Senior forward Colby Heard had 15 points to lead Virginia Wesleyan, which shot 23-for-55 (41.8 percent) and was outrebounded 45-30.

“They were more physical. They made open 3s, and our hands were down,” VWC coach David Macedo said. “… They earned it. They beat us up tonight.”

Senior guard Ronnie Thomas scored eight of his 14 points in the first eight minutes as Bridgewater took an 18-8 lead. The Marlins cut the deficit to five twice, once in each half. Heard converted a three-point play and sank two free throws to pull VWC within 60-55 with 6:11 to go.

But BC answered with a strong drive from Ed Reddick through contact for a three-point play. Stapleton’s banked 3-pointer followed and Thomas buried his own triple for good measure to put the Eagles ahead 69-55 with 3:26 remaining.

Reddick ended up with 13 points and Aaron Adams added 10.

How big of a win was this for Bridgewater?

“I think it’s big. Real big,” said Stapleton, who credited three strong practices leading up to Wednesday’s game for BC’s hot shooting. “… We were picked eighth in the ODAC. I think it proves a lot.”

Burgess hopes it’s a light-bulb moment for the Eagles, who host Guilford on Saturday afternoon in their brighter gym.

“Over the Christmas break, with part of the renovation, they put in new lights,” Burgess said. “So I’m hoping – you know, the glass of water is always half full. So, the new lights, Tavis Stapleton can thank the construction crew that came in and put in those new lights, because that bank shot, we weren’t making them before the Christmas break.”

VIRGINIA WESLEYAN (9-3)

Owens 3-7 0-1 8, Heard 5-7 5-8 15, Woodmore 5-12 0-1 11, Nady 1-2 2-4 4, Montgomery 1-3 0-4 2, Clark 2-5 0-0 6, Lyons 0-0 0-0 0, Moore 3-10 1-2 9, Mitchell 0-1 0-0 0, Poe 0-1 0-0 0, Batson 3-7 4-7 10. Totals 23-55 12-27 65.

BRIDGEWATER (7-4)

Reddick 5-10 3-6 13, McClain 1-4 0-0 2, Thomas 5-10 3-3 14, Stapleton 8-11 0-0 19, M. Hunter 1-2 0-0 3, Welty 2-6 0-0 4, Z. Hunter 3-6 3-4 9, Walton 0-0 0-0 0, Adams 5-9 0-2 10, Larson 0-0 0-0 0, Powell 1-2 2-3 4. Totals 31-60 11-18 78.

Halftime—BC 37-29. 3-Point Goals—VWC 7-21 (Owens 2-5, Woodmore 1-4, Clark 2-4, Moore 2-6), BC 5-9 (Thomas 1-3, Stapleton 3-4, M. Hunter 1-1, Welty 0-1). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—VWC 30 (Woodmore 8), BC 45 (Stapleton 13). Assists—VWC 7 (Clark, Moore 2), BC 10 (Thomas 4). Total Fouls—VWC 19, BC 18. A—615.



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