Guilford outpaces EMU, 94-88

emu sportsDespite a record-setting performance from beyond the arc, the EMU basketball men couldn’t stop host Guilford, dropping a 94-88 decision in overtime Wednesday in Greensboro, N.C. The Runnin Royals even their overall record at 2-2 in the ODAC opener for both teams.

The men head to Averett University Saturday afternoon for a non-conference affair, before hosting Randolph-Macon next week Tuesday. The date with R-MC is part of doubleheader with Eastern Mennonite’s women which is the final ODAC game of the first semester for both teams.

The Runnin Royals stepped onto the floor at Guilford without starting center Sammy Thomas (Owings, Md./Northern) and his 9.3 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. To make up for his interior presence, they took to the air.

Isaiah Harris-Winn (Frederick, Md./St. Maria Goretti) drilled a three pointer on EMU’s first possession, starting a pattern of firing a three on essentially every other attempt. The men led by as many as five points early on as the teams traded small leads.

Harris-Winn tied the score at 32-32 with a triple before Guilford used a 7-0 run for the first sizeable lead of the game. The Royals got back with two points but the Quakers scored the final four of the half to lead 43-37 at the break.

GC got two buckets to open the second half, opening up the biggest lead of the night at 47-37, but EMU was undeterred, getting the next five points from Harris-Winn.

A few minutes later, Travis Clower (Romney, W.V./Hampshire) caught fire to bring it back to a one possession game. In a span of only 4:17, the sophomore rained in a trio of threes and scored 10 points to whittle the margin down to one at 63-62 with 8:36 remaining.

Three times the Quakers pushed the lead back to six points, but Clower hit his fourth triple with 1:53 to go and Khalil Davis (Harrisonburg, Va./Spotswood) followed with a layup to get EMU within 79-78. The men forced a missed jumper but gave up an offensive putback to GC’s Carson Long with 59 seconds left, putting the deficit back at three.

Each team came up empty on their next possession, giving EMU the ball with 25 ticks remaining. Jerome Jones (Charles Town, W.V./Washington) got a good look from outside and buried a game-tying three pointer with 17 seconds to go, and the Quakers missed a three at the buzzer to send the game to overtime.

Long, who had scored Guilford’s final nine points in regulation, hit a jumper to put the home team back in front in OT. The Royals missed their first two shots in the extra session and it snowballed, as Guilford built an 89-83 lead.

Harris-Winn hit a three to make it a one-possession game with 46 seconds showing, but a quick dunk from Long followed by a steal forced EMU to foul. The Quakers missed enough free throws to tantalize Eastern Mennonite, but the men couldn’t get the buckets they needed to complete another comeback.

The Royals ended up attempting a whopping 45 three pointers out of a total of 75 shots. They connected at a high rate as well, going 18-45 for 40%. Both the 18 makes and 45 attempts are program records.

The hot outside shooting helped cover a 44-32 rebounding deficiency as Guilford put in 20 second chance points. The Quakers also torched the nets at a 53.6% clip, going 37-69 from the floor, including 7-17 from outside.

Harris-Winn, an All-ODAC Third Team selection last year, broke out of an early-season slump with 27 points, including five triples. He had scored a total of 25 points through EMU’s first three games this fall. The wing also pulled in six rebounds.

Jerome Jones finished with 12 counters, including the big three at the end of regulation, and had a game high nine rebounds. RaShawn Latimer (Warrenton, Va./Kettle Run) scored 13, as did Clower, who scored all of his points in the second half. Davis dished out seven assists and Maleke Jones (Charles Town, W.V./Washington) had four steals.

Sophomore wing Xavier McCants (Olney, Md./Sherwood), joined Thomas on the bench with an injury, leaving the Royals without two of their regular rotation players.

Long racked up 32 points on 15-for-20 shooting to lead Guilford. He added seven boards, including five offensive, and three steals. Dominique Henderson added 21 points, six rebounds and four assists.

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Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25.


The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018, and how coach Tony Bennett and his team used that loss as the source of strength, through to the ACC regular-season championship, the run to the Final Four, and the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.
 
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