HARRISONBURG, VA - The Runnin Royals survived in overtime Wednesday night, shooting 63% from the floor in the extra session to earn a hard-fought 91-84 win over Washington and Lee. The Generals got a three pointer with seven seconds left in regulation to force OT, but EMU never trailed in the bonus time and improved to 10-4 overall.
Despite leading 40-27 at halftime, the Royals watched as Washington and Lee slowly chipped back in. Even with 32 seconds left in regulation, EMU led by five, 74-69. W&L answered with a layup and then forced a turnover on the ensuing inbounds play.
The visitors got a single free throw with 21 seconds left, then a fortuitous offensive rebound off the missed second toss. Larry Whitaker (Bartlett, IL/Bartlett) missed a jumper with 16 seconds left and Owen Longacre (Telford, PA/Christopher Dock) muscled out the rebound. EMU's big man was fouled and made one of two free throws to keep the lead at three, 75-72.
The Generals quickly came down the floor and guard Kelton Buchanan (Powder Springs, GA/Hillgrove) drilled a three pointer from the left side with seven seconds left to knot the score. Eastern Mennonite couldn't get off a clean shot, leaving the game to be decided in OT.
R.J. Sims (Fort Washington, MD/Friendly) stepped up for the men in the extra session, scoring EMU's first six points to build up an 81-77 lead. Andrew Thorne (Front Royal, VA/ Skyline) added a fastbreak dunk after a steal by David Falk (Madison, VA/Madison) to put the edge at six with 1:37 to go.
The Runnin Royals then iced the game from the free throw line, making 6-of-8 tosses to keep W&L from making another comeback.
Eastern Mennonite shot 46% in the win, compared to 41% for the Generals. The visitors did have a 46-40 edge on the boards, but the Royals more than made up for that by forcing 24 turnovers. Free throws were basically even, with EMU going 21-33 while Washington and Lee finished 21-31.
Longacre had one of the best games of his career and charted his first double double of the season. He tied his career high with 20 points and pulled down 10 big rebounds. Sims was right behind him with 19 counters.
Thorne finished with 16 points and eight rebounds, while Dajon Daniel (Fredericksburg, VA/Mountain View) had 10 points and four assists. James Williams (Capitol Heights, MD/Archbishop Carroll) added eight points off the bench.
Drew Kimberly (Fairfield, CT/Fairfield Ludlowe) had 20 points to lead Washington and Lee.
The Royals, now 3-2 in the ODAC, move over .500 in the conference for the first time this season. EMU enters a tough stretch of their schedule, playing their next games against three of the top four teams in the ODAC. First up is Guilford this Saturday at 2:00 in Harrisonburg. The Quakers, 4-1 in the league, beat the men 67-64 on Nov. 28 in Greensboro, NC, on a half court three pointer at the buzzer.