HARRISONBURG, VA --- Beating a team three times in one season is tough. Same thing with back-to-back games. The Runnin Royals made it look easy Tuesday night, pulling away from Emory & Henry 89-63 in the ODAC Tournament First Round. Eastern Mennonite advances to the quarterfinals of the ODAC Tournament, where they will play fourth-seeded Lynchburg Friday at 3:00pm at the Salem Civic Center.
The fifth-seeded Royals (16-10/10-6 ODAC) had beaten E&H twice during the regular season, including Saturday night in the season finale. Tuesday night it took EMU a few minutes to get going.
The teams traded buckets early before the men used a quick 8-0 run to surge ahead 22-12. The Wasps responded with 10 unanswered points to lock up the score at 22-22 with 6:33 left in the half. Whatever momentum the visitors had at that point they quickly lost.
Looking at a zone defense from E&H, the Runnin Royals bombed back-to-back threes. David Falk (Madison, Va./Madison County) smashed a highlight reel dunk, with an assist from Kwa McDonald (Frederick, Md./Tuscarora), and the night was essentially over for the Wasps. Eastern Mennonite took over with a 15-2 run in the span of 3:29, and they strolled into halftime up 40-26.
Emory & Henry chipped to within single digits early in the second, and the tension boiled over into a triple-technical foul scrum with 12:35 to play. After the dust settled, the Royals put the game away with an 11-2 run, putting the edge at 67-45 with 8:10 left.
The men led by as many as 30 points as they cruised to their fifth straight win.
Despite being out-rebounded 41-31, the Royals ran their offense perfectly and committed just six turnovers. E8H had 22 turnovers, driven by EMU's 18 steals. The men shot 49% from the floor, compared to 39% for the Wasps.
Marcel Crump (Richmond, Va./Highland Springs) led all players with 21 points and added six rebounds and four assists. Senior RJ Sims (Fort Washington, Md./Friendly) drilled four triples and finished with 16 points, three steals and three assists in his final game in Yoder Arena. Ryan Yates (Alexandria, Va./T.C. Williams) also had 16 points, to go with eight rebounds, four assists and three steals.
Falk came in with 11 points and nine boards. McDonald had five steals and four assists.
Malcolm Green and Tyler Mullins each had 14 counters for Emory & Henry (4-22/2-14 ODAC), while Kevin Anzenberger added 13.
The winner of Friday's quarterfinal game with Lynchburg takes on the winner of No. 1 Randolph-Macon/No. 8 Hampden-Sydney on Saturday.
EMU Coach Kirby Dean talks about the win over Emory & Henry: