Macon stings EMU with late three

Just when it looked like the Runnin Royals would have the final say, Randolph-Macon turned the tables and won with a three pointer at the buzzer.  For the second time this season, R-MC stole a win with a last second bomb, this time a 74-71 decision in Harrisonburg Wednesday night.

Big man Owen Longacre (Telford, PA/Christopher Dock) had put Eastern Mennonite in front 71-69 with a triple from the left wing with 37 seconds to play.  After a light foul on Calvin Croskey (Manassas, VA/Osbourn Park) far away from the hoop, R-MC’s senior knotted the score with a pair of free throws with 20 seconds left.

The Royals brought the ball up the floor and called a timeout to set up their final play.  R.J. Sims (Fort Washington, MD/Friendly) dribbled in from the left corner, but got stuck in traffic along the baseline.  His jumper was blocked, and Andre Simon (Newport News, VA/Menchville) grabbed the rebound.

Before anyone could think about overtime, Simon sped to halfcourt and launched a shot from 40 feet at the final horn, swishing it and giving the Yellow Jackets the surprise win.

“What a disappointing loss,” said EMU Coach Kirby Dean.  “Our guys recovered well after falling behind 11-0, and we played well, but we just came up short.”

It was an unfulfilling start to the game between the two rivals, as visiting Randolph-Macon scored on its first four possessions and took an 11-0 lead.  EMU turned on the defense, but couldn’t buy its first bucket until James Williams (Capitol Heights, MD/Archbishop Carroll) canned a jumper at the 14:14 mark.

The Royals then quickly trimmed the lead to one before going cold again.  R-MC had the edge back up to 28-18 before the men scored nine in a row.

Eastern Mennonite opened the second half on an 11-5 spurt, turning a 30-29 score into a 40-35 edge.  The teams then traded leads the rest of the way as neither led by more than three points over the final nine minutes.

Croskey was key for the Yellow Jackets, as he scored 10 of their final 14 points.  He hit his fourth triple of the half with 1:18 to go, giving R-MC a 69-66 lead.  The senior finished with a game high 16, all in the second stanza.

Andrew Thorne (Front Royal, VA/Skyline) and Adam Burroughs (Roanoke, VA/Northside) co-led EMU with 13 points apiece.  Thorne added seven rebounds before fouling out with 54 seconds to play.  Burroughs had a game high four assists.

Longacre scored all five of his points in the final 2:34 of the contest, but also led all players with 11 rebounds and four blocked shots.  Williams finished with a career best 11 counters.  Point guard Dajon Daniel (Fredericksburg, VA/Mountain View) returned after missing last game with an illness and scored 10.

Adam Desgain (Richmond, VA/J.R. Tucker) matched Croskey with four triples and added 14 for the Yellow Jackets.  Both players had seven boards, as did two of their teammates, as Randolph-Macon had a sizeable 45-33 edge in rebounding.  The visitors also had an 11-4 advantage on the offensive glass.

Both teams shot poorly in the first half and finished in the low 40%-range for the game.  Eastern Mennonite was also 6-of-17 from outside and 11-for-17 from the free throw line.  The Yellow Jackets struggled to  hit their charity tosses, going 10-23, but made up for that from long range, sinking 10-of-19 including 8-of-10 in the second half.

After getting Yoder Arena as excited as it has been this season, the Runnin Royals (6-8 / 1-4 ODAC) take to the road, playing at Guilford this Saturday and then rival Bridgewater next Wednesday.  R-MC improves to 12-3 and 5-2.

The Yellow Jackets also stole a win when the two met in Ashland on Dec. 3.  Croskey drained his eighth three-pointer of that contest at the horn, giving R-MC an 87-86 decision.


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