EMU's starters were cold and host Emory & Henry's entire team was hot. As a result, the Runnin Royals ended the regular season with a 97-75 loss on the road, falling to 10-15 overall and 4-12 in the ODAC.
Eastern Mennonite's basketball men will take the No. 10 seed into next week's ODAC Tournament, and play at No. 7 Washington and Lee in Lexington, Va., on Monday at 7:00pm. The winner advances to Salem and will play second-seeded Randolph-Macon Thursday night at 6:00pm in the tourney quarterfinals.
Getting to play Washington and Lee in the First Round gives the Runnin Royals a chance to heal some of the pain of an injury-derailed season, which ended in a 3-10 spin. Out of the five players in the starting lineup in the season-opener, the men have lost two to season-ending injuries. EMU dropped a controversial 86-85 contest to the Generals in Harrisonburg on Jan. 18.
Against Emory & Henry (18-7/12-4 ODAC), the Royals gave up the first seven points and fell in an 18-3 hole after five minutes of play. They got within 24-13 after a three-point play from Jerome Jones (Charles Town, W.V./Washington), but the Wasps pushed the margin up to 55-34 at halftime.
Sophomore Xavier McCants (Olney, Md./Sherwood) gave the Runnin Royals a little momentum in the second, scoring or assisting on nine of the points in an 11-0 run to get EMU within 68-53 with 12:54 to go. But EHC scored the next nine to rebuild the big cushion and the home team never looked back.
The men shot a solid 46% from the floor, but couldn't stop the Wasps from shooting 58% overall and 13-for-25 from three.
Jones stroked in 4-of-7 three pointers and scored a team high 19, his second-highest output of the season. McCants put in 13 counters on just eight field goal attempts. Darius Johnson (Altavista, Va./Altavista) added an inside presence with 11 points.
RaShawn Latimer (Warrenton, Va./Kettle Run) added 10 points, but the rest of his starting mates combined to shoot just 4-for-18 for 11 points.
Chase Branscomb dumped in 24 for Emory & Henry. Myles Turner was good for 12 points and eight assists.