Hatter Drops 33 to Lead the Eagles Past the Royals

BC Men’s Basketball Defeats EMU 85-74 in the First Round of the ODAC Tournament


Bridgewater Eagles Athletics

First-year Shod Smith looks to score in Eagles big win over EMU in the first round of the ODAC Tournament. Bridgewater prevailed 85-74 in the Route 42 Battle and will now take on No. 1 Randolph Macon on Thursday.

Evan Maxey, Staff Writer

Bridgewater, Va. – After a slow start, the Bridgewater College men’s basketball team came back and won their first-round game over Eastern Mennonite University by a score of 85-74. Sophomore guard Zach Hatter led the Eagles with a career high 33 points on the night. 

The No. 9 Eagles pulled the upset over the eight seeded Royals and will now get another shot at the top team in the ODAC, Randolph-Macon. 

After forcing a pair of EMU turnovers, the Eagles would finally get on the board at the 17:33 mark in the first half with a nice feed from first-year guard Shod Smith to junior guard Liam Caswell for the easy layup. This was the first of ten assists on the night for Smith. 

The visiting Eagles went on to play catch up for most of the first half after Royal’s senior point guard Tim Jones scored three quick buckets along with making all four of his first half free throws. 

Bridgewater tied it up at 32-32 at the five-minute mark in the first half with a layup from Smith. BC then took their first lead of the game with a pair of made buckets from the charity stripe by senior guard Andy Pack. 

BC took a 48-42 lead into the break, being led by Smith’s 14 points and Hatter’s 16. As a team, the Eagles shot a scorching 58.3 percent from behind the arc in the first half of play to help build their lead. The Royals were led by Jones, who had 16 first half points. 

EMU came out of the break ready to play, holding Bridgewater to two points while they scored eight of their own to knot the score up at 50. Senior forward Mark Burkholder led the charge for the Royals by hitting back-to-back three-point jumpers. 

Both teams continued to trade blows until Bridgewater’s Hatter decided to take over. The sophomore guard hit a pair of his own three-point jumpers to give the Eagles a 66-58 lead and forcing a Royals timeout. 

The Royals cut the lead to five with a three pointer from sophomore guard Julien Hagerman. This is the closest that EMU got the rest of the way, because Hatter was not done yet. Hatter went on to make two more pull up jumpers and put the game out of reach. 

EMU was forced into desperation fouls, but thanks to some clutch free throw shooting from Hatter and first-year forward Aaron Oates, the Eagles iced the game and won 85-74.

The Eagles were led by the duo of Smith and Hatter, who combined for 55 points. Smith also added ten assists and eight rebounds, leaving him two shy of his first career triple double. 

The Eagles earned themselves a date in the ODAC quarterfinals against Randolph-Macon on Thursday, at 1:00 p.m. in Salem, Va.