Lynchburg College used a 9-3 spurt near the midway point of the second half to open up a 10-point lead and the Hornets held on down the stretch to defeat Bridgewater College, 84-78, Saturday afternoon in Old Dominion Athletic Conference basketball action.
The victory was big in the conference standings as the Hornets entered the contest just a game ahead of the Eagles. Lynchburg is now 13-4 overall and 6-2 in the ODAC while the Eagles drop to 9-7, 4-4 in conference play.
Bridgewater's Kenneth Waugh and Lynchburg's Gary Boone II traded the first six points of the game before a layup by Ed Reddick and a dunk by Tavis Stapleton put the Eagles on top 10-6.
The Eagles continued to extend the margin and led by eight when Kyle Welty knocked down a 3-pointer for a 21-13 lead.
Zach Burnett answered with a 3-pointer for the Hornets but a three-point play by Stapleton and a driving layup by Reddick pushed the Eagles lead to double figures, 26-16, with 10:38 left in the first half.
Lynchburg responded with an 8-2 spurt to slice the margin to four. Alex Graves worked inside and converted a three-point play and Manny Hernandez added a jumper, making the score 26-21. Reddick scored inside for the Eagles before a 3-pointer by Burnett cut the Eagles lead to 28-24.
A 3-pointer by Ronnie Thomas and another inside hoop by Reddick pushed the margin back to nine, but Burnett was fouled while launching a 3-pointer and made all three foul shots to make it a six-point game, 33-27, at the 7:59 mark.
After a layup by Reddick, Graves and Burnett scored for the Hornets to cut the lead to four and a free throw by Stephen Booker sliced the margin to three, 35-32, with 5:32 remaining.
The Eagles maintained the upper hand until a 6-0 spurt gave the Hornets the lead. Graves scored from in close and a 3-pointer by Austen Arnold tied the score at 39-39. After an Eagles turnover, Omar Kemp made 1-of-2 free throws for a 40-39 Lynchburg lead with 2:05 left in the first half.
The lead didn't last long as Stapleton connected on a 3-pointer to put the Eagles on top 42-40. Austen made two foul shots but Stapleton answered with a jumper to keep the Eagles on top by two. Burnett then tacked on two free throws for the Hornets with 39 seconds left, tying the score at 44-44 at the break.
Reddick opened the second half with two free throws but Burnett hit three foul shots in a row to give the Hornets a one-point lead. Hernandez followed with a 3-pointer before Reddick hit two more foul shots to cut the Lynchburg lead to two, 50-48.
The Eagles tied the score on a layup by Daniel McClain before the Hornets reeled off an 11-4 run to open up a 61-54 lead with 14:31 left to play.
Bridgewater then answered with a 7-2 flurry, capped by David Larson's 15-footer, to pull within two, 63-61.
The next spurt belonged to Lynchburg as a 9-1 run propelled the Hornets to a 10-point lead. Back-to-back 3-pointers by Harry West and Burnett pushed the margin to eight, 69-61, with 10:45 to play. After Aaron Adams hit 1-of-2 at the line, Hernandez nailed a 3-pointer, giving the Hornets a 72-62 lead at the 8:21 mark.
Two foul shots by Reddick and a 3-pointer by Welty trimmed the lead to five before a layup by Graves put the Hornets up 74-67.
The teams traded empty possessions before Reddick worked the paint and converted a 3-point play to pull the Eagles to within four. Graves scored again for the Eagles, but Stapleton hit two foul shots to keep the Eagles within four points.
A free throw by Graves made the score 77-72 with 3:33 remaining and then both squads went scoreless until a steal by Stapleton near midcourt led to a layup by Welty that trimmed the deficit to three points, 77-74, with 59 seconds remaining.
On the next possession, the Hornets missed at the offensive end but the rebound went out of bounds and was last touched by the Eagles. Lyndon White then converted a crucial three-point play to put Lynchburg on top, 80-74, with 48 seconds left.
The Eagles weren't finished as they took advantage of some missed free throws by the Hornets to pull back to within three points. A McClain layup cut the margin to four before Austen hit 1-of-2 foul shots, making the score 81-76 with 34 seconds left.
Bridgewater missed a shot on its next possession, but the Eagles got a break when Austen missed two free throws. Reddick then connected on two foul shots to make it a one possession game, 81-78, with 15 seconds left.
The Eagles were forced to foul and Burnett sank two clutch foul shots, making the score 83-78. After the Eagles' Waugh missed a 3-pointer, Graves made 1-of-2 foul shots for the final 84-78 margin.
Reddick finished with his second double-double effort of the week. The Eagles junior scored a career-high 29 points and pulled down a team-high 11 rebounds. Stapleton and Welty added 12 points each.
Burnett paced the Hornets with 25 points and Graves added 19 points and a game-high 13 boards. Hernandez also reached double figures with 11 points.
A big difference came on the glass where the Hornets held a 46-39 advantage. Second-chance opportunities hurt the Eagles as Lynchburg pulled down 22 offensive rebounds which helped lead to to a 20-8 advantage in second chance points for the Hornets.
The Eagles connected on 42.6 percent of their shots, making 26-of-61 from the floor. Lynchburg made 26-of-69 shots for 37.7 percent. The Hornets were hot from beyond the arc, making 8-of-12 shots.
Bridgewater returns to action Wednesday evening when it travels to Virginia Beach to play Virginia Wesleyan College. Game time is 5 p.m.