augusta free press news

EMU headed to Elite Eight

Edited by Chris Graham

A three-pointer gave Eastern Mennonite a second-half lead it would not relinquish, but free throws made the difference as the Royals grabbed a 74-71 win over Whitworth on Friday to move into the NCAA Division III Elite Eight.

The Royals (25-4), who trailed by two at the break at 39-37, took their biggest lead of the night on a D.J. Hinson three that gave EMU a 71-63 lead with 1:08 remaining. But the Royals couldn’t finish the game at the line. Entering the game with a 70.5 percent free-throw mark as a team, EMU made only one of six free throws in a 30-second span, allowing Whitworth (26-3) trimmed the lead to one before a pair of George Johnson free throws provided EMU with its final margin.

Eastern Mennonite advances to Saturday’s regional final with the victory and will play either Guilford or Wooster at 7 p.m. in Greensboro.

Waynesboro High School alum Todd Phillips led four Runnin Royals in double figures with 17 points. R.E. Lee alum Eli Crawford pulled down a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds along with three steals.