The young Runnin Royals have needed a big win to get the ball rolling. Wednesday night they may have gotten it.
Sophomore Adam Burroughs (Roanoke, VA/Northside) shook off a cold-shooting night and nailed the game-winning three pointer with 2.1 seconds left in overtime, as Eastern Mennonite earned a hard-fought 78-75 win from Lynchburg. The guard scored EMU’s final seven points as they never trailed in OT.
The Royals move to 9-11 overall and 4-7 in the league, after taking the win from the ODAC’s fifth-place team. The men are now in a three-way tie for sixth with Washington and Lee University and Randolph College.
“It just feels good to finally win one of these games,” said EMU Coach Kirby Dean. “It was a game which could have gone either way, and it just feels like we’ve lost all of those in the past.”
After Lynchburg jumped to an early 12-6 advantage, the Royals regrouped with seven straight points. The teams then went back-and-forth until EMU scored the final seven of the half to lead 41-36 at the intermission.
The men carried the momentum into the second and pushed out to a 12-point edge at 50-38. But with a 60-49 lead and nine minutes to play, the Royals sputtered.
Lynchburg scored six straight, and finally re-took the lead at 63-62. The Hornets looked like they would steal the win when Tucker Lucas (Herndon, VA/Herndon) was fouled with 3.8 seconds left in regulation. Lucas made both tosses to put LC back in front, 68-67.
After a timeout, R.J. Sims (Fort Washington, MD/Friendly) crashed down the right side of the lane and missed a jump shot at the buzzer. But an official came out of the crowd whistling a foul on LC’s Lucas, giving Sims a chance to win it with 0.4 seconds showing.
Consistent with a tough night from the stripe, Sims missed the first free throw, but dramatically made the second, knotting the score at 68-68 and sending the game to overtime.
Owen Longacre (Telford, PA/Christopher Dock) got EMU started on the right foot in OT, canning his third three pointer of the night. After the Hornets got one of two free throws, Burroughs made an acrobatic jumper in the lane to push the lead to 73-69.
Lynchburg got another one of two charity tosses, but the Royals missed two good looks from long range on their next possession. Lucas stroked in a three to tie the game again, followed by Burroughs and Lucas trading jumpers to leave the score at 75-75.
Looking at LC’s zone, the Royals again missed a pair of treys sandwiched around an offensive rebound, giving the Hornets the chance to hold for the final shot. But Lucas surprisingly fired a jumper and missed it with 13 seconds left, and Dajon Daniel (Fredericksburg, VA/Mountain View) ended up with the rebound after a scramble.
That’s when Sims dribbled up the floor, and Burroughs curled in behind him for the game-winning three.
Dean said his team won the game with good defense and rebounding. EMU had a 51-41 edge on the boards, including 21 offensive rebounds. The Royals also limited Lynchburg to just 40% shooting, including a chilly 4-for-19 from three point range.
Sims scored 13 points in the first half and came in with a team high 15 along with 10 rebounds and four assists. Burroughs had only four points through regulation, but finished with 11 after his clutch overtime. He also had four assists.
Longacre was 3-for-5 from outside and had 12 points, nine boards and three steals. Andrew Thorne (Front Royal, VA/Skyline) totaled 12 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three assists.
James Williams (Capitol Heights, MD/Archbishop Carroll) added eight rebounds and seven points off the bench. Daniel also had three steals.
EMU shot 43% from the floor connecting on 29-of-68 shots. The men again struggled from the free throw line, making only 12-of-29 for 41%.
Nate Campbell (Cary, NC/Cary) led Lynchburg with 19 points and nine rebounds, although the Royals held him scoreless over the final 9:12 of the contest. Michael Wims (Standardsville, VA/William Monroe) added 14 counters and eight boards, while Lucas finished with 11.
Eastern Mennonite has just five games left in the regular season, including this Saturday’s game at Randolph. Game time in Lynchburg is 2:00pm.
Write-up courtesy EMU Sports Information Department.