The Runnin Royals (9-11/4-8 ODAC) got a much-needed victory on Saturday afternoon after taking down Hampden-Sydney 72-60. The game also honored EMU's basketball alumni through the years, highlighting four former coaches and the 2009-10 Elite Eight team.
The men now look to build a little momentum as they travel across town to Bridgewater College on Wednesday for a 7:00pm tilt. Eastern Mennonite will close out the season by playing two of their last three games in Yoder Arena.
The game started off at a crawl, with the score knotted at 11 after eight minutes of play. The Runnin Royals followed with a 22-8 run over the next seven minutes, which was sparked by back-to-back threes from Isaiah Harris-Winn (Frederick, Md. / St. Maria Goretti) and Jerome Jones (Charles Town, W.V. / Washington). Tariq Caldwell (Richmond, Va./Lee-Davis) also added eight points in the spurt to bump the score to 26-18.
The Tigers scored on four consecutive possessions to cut their deficit and tie the game at 26-26 at the 3:21 mark. After back and forth play the Tigers drained a late three-pointer and nearly walked into the locker room with a one-point lead until Maleke Jones (Charles Town, W.V. / Washington) answered on the other end with a three of his own at the buzzer, making it 33-31 at halftime.
HS-C was first to get on the board after intermission, but at the 16:55 mark the Tigers received a technical foul, which kicked the Royals into high gear as they went on to score 12 of the next 14 to go out in front 45-36 with 12:55 to play.
After the Tigers cut the deficit to three at 45-42, EMU used another run, this time 9-0, to go up by 12 with 8:05 remaining. The run secured the win for the Royals as they would command the lead for the duration of the game.
Hampden-Sydney held a 47.1% to 39.1% shooting margin from the floor, but EMU made the difference from the stripe and off the glass. The Royals were a modest 8-for-31 from three, but pinned the Tigers to 4-for-13 shooting from long range. The men were 14-19 from the free throw line compared to 8-16 for HS-C. EMU was also +10 in rebounding, 40-30.