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EMU men drop decision to W&L

A cold start hampered the Runnin Royals, but a cold finish was the deciding factor in a 72-65 loss to Washington & Lee Wednesday night in Harrisonburg.

The men had their chances to get on the board first, but struggled to get clean looks inside because of the wingspans of the Generals.  After EMU missed three straight layups, the visitors opened the scoring with a three pointer.

A J.D. Ey (Charlotte, NC/Myers Park) layup put W&L up 20-9 midway through the first half.  With the score 28-17, Eastern Mennonite finally got its offense going.  David Falk (Madison, VA/Madison) hit a layup, which triggered a 10-0 run, cutting the deficit to one.

Just as quickly, though, the Generals answered with a 12-2 run and rolled into halftime on top by a score of 40-31.

The teams played evenly for the first three minutes of the second before the Royals turned on the defense.  They held W&L scoreless for nearly four minutes and rattled off nine unanswered points, getting within 46-45 on a jumper from Adam Burroughs (Roanoke, VA/Northside) with 13:51 to play.

A triple and a deuce bumped the score to 51-45, but EMU kept coming.  After a 0-11 start from outside, Dajon Daniel (Fredericksburg, VA/Mountain View) finally got the men’s first three pointer with 9:08 to play.  Falk put in a pair of free throws a minute later to cap a 7-0 burst, giving the Runnin Royals their first lead of the night, 55-54.

The Generals again had an answer, but Daniel canned two more triples to get the men back within one, 64-63, with 2:22 to go.  The teams traded buckets, but then EMU went cold, missing their final five shots, including four three pointers, as W&L held on for the 72-65 decision.

Eastern Mennonite struggled with the Generals’ height inside, having eight shots blocked on the night.  But the men also couldn’t open anything up from outside, going just 3-for-21 from three point range.

Coach Kirby Dean also mentioned a viral factor weighing on the team.

“We’re just not a very deep team right now because of whatever sickness is going around,” Dean said with a scratch in his throat.  “Ryan Yates (Alexandria, VA/T.C. Williams) missed the game with it and R.J. Sims (Fort Washington, MD/Friendly) and Dajon Daniel played with it.”

EMU shot just 33% from the floor in the loss.  The men slowed W&L down in the second half, but the visitors still shot 49% for the game.  The Royals were 18-29 from the free throw line compared to 18-32 for the Generals.

Junior Andrew Thorne (Front Royal, VA/Skyline) hustled his way to team highs of 13 points, nine rebounds, four steals and three assists.  Daniel finished with 11 and all three of EMU’s treys.

James Williams (Capitol Heights, MD/Archbishop Carroll) had 10 points off the bench.  Center Owen Longacre (Telford, PA/Christopher Dock) added three steals.

Ey led the Generals with 19 points, 10 rebounds, four blocked shots and three steals.  Freshman Javon McDonald (Schaumburg, IL/Schaumburg) added 17 counters.

Dean said his players need to get more consistent.

“We’ll play eight minutes of good ball and then nullify it all with a bad two-minute stretch,” he said.  “We have to figure that out.  Eventually we will and then who knows what we can accomplish.”

The loss snapped a three-game winning streak and dropped Eastern Mennonite to 5-7 overall and 1-3 in the ODAC.  The men have a few days to get healthy before travelling to take on Frostburg State Monday at 2:00pm.

augusta free press
augusta free press