EMU's basketball men did so many things well. They held a potent opponent to just 40% shooting. They committed only seven turnovers. They grabbed a season high 23 offensive rebounds and won the battle of the boards, 50-48.
But at the end of the day, the iron was unkind. The Runnin Royals shot a season-low 26.8% from the floor, including just 19% from outside, as they fell at home to Roanoke College on Saturday by a final of 77-66.
The previous low shooting percentage for EMU this year was 37.5% in a 74-62 loss at Hood on Dec. 18. They entered with a team shooting clip of 45.1%, including 38% from three.
Eastern Mennonite played a solid first half of basketball. RaShawn Latimer (Warrenton, Va./Kettle Run) scored the men's first eight points as they traded leads with Roanoke early. A string of three pointers on three of four possessions gave the Runnin Royals their biggest least of the day at 37-30 late in the first.
The men led at halftime, 39-35.
Roanoke exploded for a 14-0 run in the opening minutes of the second half, cracking open a 51-42 margin. The teams traded runs before EMU got within three points at 62-59 and again at 64-61. The Maroons responded with back-to-back triples to bump the lead back up to nine with just over two minutes left to play, and the men couldn't buy a big shot to get back in it.
The Royals played great team ball, earning an assist on 17 of their 22 made field goals, their highest ratio of the season.
Even with being patient on offense and getting a lot of good looks, EMU's men broke a program record by attempting 47 three pointers. The previous record was set at 45 earlier this year in an overtime loss at Guilford on Nov. 30.
Latimer was lights out in the first half where he scored 16 of his 19 points. Playing as EMU's point guard, the junior broke his career high with nine rebounds and had a season best six assists.
Jerome Jones (Charles Town, W.V./Washington) worked his way to 12 points and seven rebounds, while Isaiah Harris-Winn (Frederick, Md./St. Maria Goretti) scored nine points to go with his career high 14 rebounds. He pulled in five offensive caroms as seven different Royals had at least two offensive boards.
Joey Miller led four Maroons in double figures with 20 points, as the visitors played just seven men. John Fitchett added 15 and 12 rebounds.
Coach Kirby Dean said that shots were just not falling for his team: