Harrisonburg, Va. - In the ODAC, you're happy to pick up a win on the road, no matter what it looks like. Such was the case for the Runnin Royals, who overcame a 10-point deficit in the second half to earn a 78-71 win at Emory & Henry Saturday afternoon.
The Eastern Mennonite men, who hadn't played a game in two and a half weeks because of their Christmas break, actually started out on fire, zipping to an 8-0 lead just 2:34 into the contest. But the Wasps settled down and came back to take their first lead at 15-14.
Emory & Henry continued their push, using a 15-2 run to lead by 25-16. The Royals responded with the next 11 points, to teeter totter back in front, 27-25, on an Andrew Thorne (Front Royal, VA/Skyline) put-back. But EHC had the final say in the half and took a 42-34 lead into the break.
In the second, the Runnin Royals slowly chipped into the lead. With 5:41 left to play, the Wasps still led 64-58. EMU had a quick 5-0 run to slice the cushion to one point. Dajon Daniel (Fredericksburg, VA/Mountain View) hit a layup with 2:54 to go, putting the men back in front, 67-66.
Emory & Henry got a single free throw to tie the score with 2:27 remaining, but the Royals then forced back-to-back turnovers to trigger a 7-0 streak. James Williams (Capitol Heights, MD/Archbishop Carroll) drained a three pointer with 48 ticks left to give the men a 74-67 lead. The guard had five of the seven points during the crucial run.
Then men made 4-of-6 free throws over the final 29 seconds to seal the 78-71 win. EMU ended the game on a 20-7 run.
Despite forcing only 15 turnovers, Eastern Mennonite earned the biggest advantage of the game by committing a season low nine miscues. The men were also 18-28 from the free throw line, for 64%.
Daniel led four Royals in double figures with 19 points. Owen Longacre (Telford, PA/Christopher Dock) had 11 counters, while Thorne and R.J. Sims (Fort Washington, MD/Friendly) each scored 10. Sims also had a game high three assists.
David Falk (Madison, VA/Madison) returned from a wrist injury and added eight points and six rebounds in his first game since Dec. 8.
With the successful return from their holiday layoff, Eastern Mennonite improves to 9-4 overall and 2-2 in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference. Next up is a home doubleheader with Washington and Lee on Wednesday. The women play at 6:00pm that night, followed by the men at 8:00pm.