BRIDGEWATER, Va. – Eastern Mennonite closed the first half with a 5-1 spurt in the final minute to open up a 14-point lead Wednesday evening and the Royals went on to defeat the Bridgewater College Eagles, 80-63, in ODAC action.
Eastern Mennonite (8-11, 5-8 in the ODAC) hoisted 38 shots from 3-point range and connected on 14 against the Eagles' zone defense. For the game, the Royals shot 43.8 percent from the floor, making 28-of-64 shots. EMU took 18 more shots than Bridgewater as the Eagles connected on 24-of-48 shots for 52.2 percent.
The Royals jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead, but the Eagles battled back and closed to within 15-10 on a layup by freshman big man Efe Balfour.
Bridgewater (6-15, 5-8 in the ODAC) stayed within striking distance by battling the Royals to a standoff on the boards and shooting 50 percent from the floor in the first 20 minutes.
The Royals pushed ahead by nine, 21-12, just past the midway point of the first half, but the Eagles used a layup by Romello Crowell and a 3-pointer from the corner by Keonte Dennis to pull within four, 21-17, with 7:53 left on the first-half clock.
A layup by Crowell kept the deficit at four, 25-21, before back-to-back 3-pointers by EMU's Travis Clower pushed the margin to double digits, 31-21.
A 3-pointer by Khalil Davis gave the Royals a 38-24 lead with 1:47 left, but two free throws by Hunter Dotson and a layup by Balfour cut the margin back to 10, 38-28.
Isaiah Harris–Winn knocked down a 3-pointer for a 41-28 EMU lead at the one minute mark. Trenton Ray hit 1-of-2 free throws for the Eagles before Jerome Jones scored on a layup in the closing seconds to give the visitors a 43-29 halftime lead.
Crowell opened the second half with a layup, but the Royals scored the next five points to lead by 17. Eastern Mennonite led by as much as 25 points in the second half and finished with the 17-point, 80-63 victory.
Balfour just missed a double-double as he led the Eagles with a career-high 23 points to go along with nine rebounds. Dennis scored a career-high 15 points and grabbed eight boards while freshman point guard Crowell tallied a career-high 13 points to go along with seven boards and five assists.
Harris-Winn paced the Royals with 19 points and Jerome Jones scored 13.