Harrisonburg, Va. - The Runnin Royals picked up a hard-fought win on the road Monday night, holding off Goucher College in a 66-63 decision. Eastern Mennonite improves to 6-1 overall.
Despite being saddled with foul trouble over the first 20 minutes, the men led much of the opening frame. They scored the final five points going into halftime, capped by a Ryan Yates (Alexandria, VA/T.C. Williams) three pointer, to lead 33-25 at intermission.
Eastern Mennonite scored the first four points in the second for the biggest lead of the night at 37-25. Goucher responded with a 12-2 run, however, to get back within two points and the battle was on.
As the teams went back and forth, Dajon Daniel (Fredericksburg, VA/Mountain View) drilled a big three pointer to put EMU back up 61-60 with 3:04 to play. After forcing the Gophers into a missed triple, the men came down and Daniel assisted James Williams (Capitol Heights, MD/Archbishop Carroll) on another long bomb, blowing the lead to up to 64-60.
Goucher got a single free throw with 1:17 left, but the Royals pushed the edge up to five points when R.J. Sims (Fort Washington, MD/Friendly) drove to the hoop and dunked the ball.
The Gophers cut the lead to three with a pair of free throws with 40 ticks to go, and the men left the door open when Williams missed the front end of a one-and-one free throw. Goucher got two shots off in the final eight seconds, but neither found the mark as EMU escaped with the win.
Daniel and Sims were a two-headed monster to lead the team. Daniel hit three three-pointers and dropped in 19 points. He added a season high five assists along with five rebounds and three steals. Sims was 8-for-13 from the floor to lead the team with 20 points, a season high for him.
Williams also hit double figures with 10 points. Owen Longacre (Telford, PA/Christopher Dock) added eight rebounds and three assists.
The Runnin Royals had their best effort of the year from long range, going 8-for-18 for 44%. They shot 28-for-61 overall for 46%, but were limited to 2-for-6 from the free throw line. EMU was out-rebounded 37-28, but also forced 21 turnovers for a +4 turnover margin.
EMU has a few days off before returning to the court for a sure-to-be-classic game with Randolph-Macon. The men host the Yellow Jackets on Saturday, with a 7:00pm start in Yoder Arena.