Eagles Steal Late Decision, 68-66

Senior RaShawn Latimer earned his first career double double. (photo by Scott Eyre)
Senior RaShawn Latimer earned his first career double double. (photo by Scott Eyre)

The Eastern Mennonite University men's basketball team fell 68-66 at crosstown rival Bridgewater College on Wednesday evening. The Eagles scored the game winning layup with just 13.3 seconds left and the Royals could not get a quality look to overcome the late bucket.

EMU falls to 9-21 overall and 9-11 in the ODAC, while Bridgewater improves to 13-9 overall, 7-6 ODAC. 

Despite the loss, Isaiah Harris-Winn (Frederick, Md./St. Maria Goretti) hit a personal milestone and scored his 1,000th career point, ending the night with 11 points and nine rebounds.

The Royals were first to get on the board and held BC scoreless for the first 3:15, but neither team was able to build more than a three-point advantage. At the 8:31 mark, EMU used back-to-back threes from Jerome Jones (Charles Town, W.V./Washington), both assisted by Maleke Jones (Charles Town, W.V./Washington), to bump the score to 21-15.

The Eagles answered on the other end but then EMU scored on the next two, converting on a pair of threes from Travis Clower (Romney, W.V./Hampshire) and Xavier McCants (Olney, Md./Sherwood), to make it 27-16 with 4:40 left in the half.

The home team went on a 8-4 run to close out the final four minutes, but EMU remained on top with a 31-24 lead heading into half time.  

Both teams struggled to find their form, as EMU shot 5-of-17 (29.4%) from three and Bridgewater only made 1-of-5 (20.0%). From the floor, the Royals shot 35.5% and BC connected on just 31.1%. The Eagles made up for their cold shooting by coming up with nine steals compared to EMU's two.

Bridgewater scored the first five points of the second half to drive within three, but the Royals used an 8-0 spurt to open up a double-figure margin at 42-31 with 15:37 left. EMU took the ball to the hole and got inside buckets from RaShawn Latimer (Warrenton, Va./Kettle Run) and Maleke Jones

Dimetri Chambers went on a personal 11-0 run for Bridgewater to knot the game at 42-42. The Eagles came up with a couple of free throws to go on top 45-43, but it was then that Harris-Winn dumped in back-to-back treys, the second giving him his 1,000th point. The game remained tight over the next 3:15 of play, as the Eagles edged EMU with a slight 10-8 run. Latimer made one-of-two free throws to tie the game at 57-57. 

Sammy Thomas (Owings, Md./Nothern) was sent to the line and pulled off a pair of tosses to get the Royals back within one. From there, the teams traded empty trips to the offensive end until Latimer converted on a three-point play, followed by layup to tie the score at 64-64 with 2:28 left to play. 

After a missed jumper, Bridgewater managed to grab an offensive rebound to get the go ahead bucket at 66-64. EMU tied the game shortly after when Maleke Jones fed Thomas in the post for a dunk, making it 66-66. 

Another offensive rebound for the Eagles eventually allowed for what was the game-winning layup with 13.3 seconds left, making it 68-66. Maleke Jones was forced to throw up a contested three-pointer from well beyond the arc just before the buzzer. The shot fell short as Bridgewater escaped with a two-point victory.

Latimer charted his first double-double on the season and led all scorers with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Maleke Jones added nine points and six assists, while McCants scored eight, dished out four assists, and came up with three steals. 

The Royals won the rebounding battle 44-39, but missed their chances in turnovers (18-13) and steals (13-7). 

EMU's men are back in action on Saturday afternoon when they head to Randolph College for a 2:00pm tip.