Runnin Royals Dominate Rival Bridgewater, 87-60

Maleke Jones (with ball) helped lead EMU's charge early and he finished perfect from the floor. (photo by Scott Eyre)
Maleke Jones (with ball) helped lead EMU's charge early and he finished perfect from the floor. (photo by Scott Eyre)
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The pre-game hype for Wednesday's rivalry game between EMU and Bridgewater never paid dividends on the floor, as the Runnin Royals scored the first 10 points on their home court and never looked back in a convincing 87-60 win.

The 27-point margin was the largest of the year as Eastern Mennonite (7-5) earned their first ODAC win in three tries. Their earlier losses were by a combined eight points, including one in overtime. Bridgewater took their first conference loss and falls to 5-7 (2-1 ODAC).

Eastern Mennonite scored on their first four possessions to set the tone, including Khalil Davis (Harrisonburg, Va./Spotswood) assisting Maleke Jones (Charles Town, W.V./Washington) for a layup and triple. Maleke Jones then set up RaShawn Latimer (Warrenton, Va./Kettle Run) for a three before Davis got a steal and sunk a pair of free throws after getting fouled on his layup attempt.

The unselfish play on the offensive end paired well with a staunch defensive effort. With a 35-24 lead, the Runnin Royals held Bridgewater scoreless for 6:25 late in the first half, turning into 12 straight EMU points and a 47-24 cushion. The men led 49-28 at halftime.

Looking for any momentum, the Eagles started the second half with a 9-4 run to cut EMU's lead to 53-37, but that would be as close as BC would get. Xavier McCants (Olney, Md./Sherwood) put in back-to-back layups to end a 7-0 jab, bumping the lead back to 60-37 and effectively finishing off the Eagles' hope.

Eastern Mennonite forced BC into nine second-half turnovers and earned a +5 margin for the game. The men added 14 offensive rebounds and a 48-36 overall edge on the glass, their most rebounds this season.

The Royals shot 49% in the first half, including 6-10 from outside, and finished at a 46% clip for the game. The defense locked down Bridgewater to just 33% shooting overall and 8-27 from three.

Isaiah Harris-Winn (Frederick, Md./St. Maria Goretti) led an extremely balanced effort with 13 points and six rebounds. Latimer added 12 while McCants scored 10 with three steals. All of the sophomore's points came from layups or dunks.

Jerome Jones (Charles Town, W.V./Washington) had a great line with eight points, four assists and a season high 10 rebounds. Freshman Josh Good (Luray, Va./Luray) added seven points, five boards and two blocks.

All 12 Royals who saw at least five minutes of playing time scored.

Kevin Saylor hit four triples and led Bridgewater with 16 points, six rebounds and four assists. Bryce Boggs chipped in 15.

The Runnin Royals are on the road this Saturday, playing at Lynchburg College at 2:00pm.

Coach Kirby Dean said his team played an unselfish game of basketball: