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Tigers' Late Comeback Not Enough, Fall 53-48

BRIDGEWATER, VA-The Tigers mounted a furious comeback in the waning minutes of the game while making an 8-1 run to end the game, but it was not enough as Bridgewater College held on for the 53-48 ODAC win in Bridgewater's Nininger Hall. The Tiger defense was stingy, holding the Eagles to just 22 points in the second half, but struggled from the field on the other end of the floor. Hampden-Sydney was led by junior Ru White (Chesterfield, VA/L.C. Bird) who notched his first career double-double with 18 points and a career-high 12 rebounds.

In early defensive battle, Hampden-Sydney's Alex Potapov (Moscow, Russia/Florida Air) was the first to score giving the Tigers a 2-0 advantage just one minute into the game. The two teams traded buckets, and three and a half minutes into play the score was knotted at 4-4.

Two and a half minutes later, Bridgewater broke the scoring drought with a Malcolm Dickson free throw to put the Eagles up 5-4 at the 14:06 mark.

Bridgewater expanded the lead to as much as ten with a 13-4 run that was capped off by a Mark Gibbs lay up at the 9:35 mark.

After Bridgewater upped its lead to 22-10, Hampden-Sydney buckled down and made a run of its own. Ben Jessee (Midlothian, VA/Cosby) knocked down a three pointer that started a 9-0 run in favor of the Tigers. Potapov capped off the run with a jumper with 3:06 remaining in the half to make it a 22-19 game.

The run came to an end, however, as the Eagles used the final three minutes of the half to outscore Hampden-Sydney 9-1 to take a 31-20 halftime lead.

The Tigers came out in the second half engergized, forcing the Eagles to burn a timeout after scoring two quick baskets to cut the deficit to 31-24.

In the low scoring second half, Bridgewater would extend its lead to as much as 17, leading 47-30 halfway through the stanza.  

Potapov and White then scored back-to-back buckets to keep the Tigers in it, cutting it to a 47-34 Bridgewater lead.

Minutes later, senior Colin O'Neill (Fort Leavenworth, KS/Leavenworth) knocked down two free throws to make it an 11 point game with just under six minutes remaining.

The Eagles pushed their lead back to 12, but at the 2:48 mark Hampden-Sydney began its final push. White knocked down a lay up to make it a 52-42 game. After a lay up and two foul shots from O'Neill and a lay up from Jessee, along with Tiger stops put Hampden-Sydney within four at 52-48 with 41 seconds left.

Hampden-Sydney could not quite close the gap however, taking the 53-48 loss.

Along with White, Potapov was a double digit scorer with 12 points on 6-of-7 shooting. O'Neill added eight points and eight rebounds. On the night, Hampden-Sydney was 20-58 (34.5%) from the floor but just 1-18 from beyond the arc. They out rebounded the Eagles 48-36.

Bridgewater was led by Rick Maroney's 11 points. Tavis Stapleton and Daniel McClain each added eight points.

Hampden-Sydney returns to action on Wednesday January 19 as they travel to face the Generals of Washington and Lee. Tip off is set for 7:00 pm.