EMU gives great effort in tight 71-69 ODAC loss

emu sportsThe bench made the difference Tuesday night in Harrisonburg, where the EMU basketball men dropped a 71-69 decision to ODAC rival Randolph-Macon College. The Yellow Jackets’ subs out-scored EMU’s 44-8, as the Royals fell to 0-2 in the conference and 3-3 overall.

The Eastern Mennonite men head to the Don Glick Classic hosted by Bridgewater College this weekend. The men play Apprentice Friday at 5:30pm, followed by high-scoring Moravian College Saturday at 2:00pm. Both games are in BC’s Nininger Hall.

After a slugfest first half against Randolph-Macon, Tuesday’s came down to who could gain the most momentum in the second period. The biggest lead for either in the first half was R-MC’s six-point margin at 35-29. Jerome Jones (Charles Town, W.V./Washington) buried a late three to cut the deficit in half at the break, 37-34.

Maleke Jones (Charles Town, W.V./Washington) got a steal and lay-in early in the second, but the determined Yellow Jackets answered by scoring on their next five possessions. EMU, meanwhile, came up empty on their tries, resulting in a 12-0 run and a quick 49-36 lead, just 4:31 into the half.

After nearly five minutes of drought for both teams, the Runnin Royals caught fire. RaShawn Latimer (Warrenton, Va./Kettle Run) hit a pair of triples to start the surge. The junior finally capped a 19-8 run by popping in a jumper to get EMU within 57-55 with 5:44 to play.

The home crowd erupted on the bucket, which came after back-to-back offensive rebounds, but R-MC called a timeout and quickly settled down. The visitors got their own offensive putback to trigger a 7-0 spurt as EMU crucially went scoreless for the next 3:37.

With 2:17 remaining, the Yellow Jackets were suddenly back up by a comfortable margin, 64-55. Twins Maleke and Jerome Jones led a late barrage of three pointers, but the men couldn’t catch a break defensively. Maleke Jones hit a three with less than a second remaining, getting the men within 71-69, but it was too late.

Maleke Jones was limited by foul trouble in the first half, but still lead all scorers with 20 points, including 4-8 from outside. Jerome Jones shot 5-9 from long range to finish with 17 points and a team high seven rebounds. Latimer came in with 11 points.

Mark Loving (Woodford, Va./Caroline) provided some high-energy minutes off the bench, grabbing five rebounds and blocking three shots in just 11 minutes of playing time.

Randolph-Macon was led by guard Jamie Wilson, who was 5-9 from three to rack up 15 points, 10 above his season average. Backup guard Korey Turner added 14, as three Yellow Jackets bench players scored in double figures.

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