Coming into Tuesday night's rescheduled game against No. 21 Randolph-Macon, the Runnin Royals were just 2-6 in Yoder Arena. The men decided to change that trend, leading by as many as 13 points en route to a thrilling 73-68 upset of the Yellow Jackets. It is the second victory over a nationally-ranked ODAC opponent in seven days for Eastern Mennonite.
EMU improves to 12-10 overall and 7-6 in the ODAC. The key win also pushes the men back into fifth place in the league with just three games left in the regular season. They also beat No. 16 Virginia Wesleyan 85-82 in overtime last Wednesday in Virginia Beach. Randolph-Macon falls to 16-5 overall and 11-2 in the ODAC as their 13-game winning streak is snapped.
The Runnin Royals scored first in the game, but R-MC hung around with ties at 2-2 and 10-10. EMU held their visitors scoreless for a stretch of 4:20, however, unleashing a 12-0 run to zip ahead 22-10. The men kept the lead around double figures and led 40-31 at halftime.
The Yellow Jackets opened the second half on an 11-6 run, getting within four points at 46-42 before the men settled down. A quick 9-3 run, complete with dunks from David Falk (Madison, Va./Madison) and Ryan Yates (Alexandria, Va./T.C. Williams), bumped EMU's lead back up to ten at 57-47.
Randolph-Macon answered with a 10-2 run to get within two points, but that would be as close as they would get.
Woody Furbush (Bridgeton, N.J./Salem) got a huge offensive putback with 1:36 to play, keeping the edge at 69-64. R-MC's Marcus Badger made a pair of layups to get the visitors back within a single possession at 71-68 with 4.6 seconds left, but RJ Sims (Fort Washington, Md./Friendly) hit both of his free throws with 3.5 remaining to ice the final margin.
The Runnin Royals shot a blazing 55% from the floor and hounded R-MC into just 33% shooting. Eastern Mennonite also had a huge 46-32 advantage in rebounding. The main reasons the game stayed close was EMU committing 22 turnovers to R-MC's eight, and the Yellow Jackets going 22-34 from the free throw line. The Royals were 14-25.
Falk had a monster effort with 21 points, 19 rebounds and four blocked shots. Marcel Crump (Richmond, Va./Highland Springs) scored 15 points, while Sims added 12 and four assists.
Yates put up nine points and seven rebounds off the bench. Furbush charted eight points and six boards, including five offensive.
Andre Simon led Randolph-Macon with 25 points and six rebounds. Badger was the only other Yellow Jacket in double figures with 10 points.
The decision snaps EMU's nine-game losing streak to Randolph-Macon. The last win for the Royals in the series was the 90-67 victory over then-No. 1 R-MC on January of 2010. Tuesday's game had originally been scheduled for Wednesday night, but was moved up a day due to the expected winter weather.
Eastern Mennonite hosts Randolph College in another big matchup this Saturday night. The two teams are in a group of four teams all within a single game of each other in the ODAC standings, occupying spots five through eight. The WildCats won the previous head-to-head in Lynchburg on Jan. 8, a tight 63-62 decision.