Three free throws with less than a second left sink EMU hoops
Washington and Lee stole an 86-85 decision from the EMU men Wednesday, getting three free throws from Devin Kearns with 0.4 seconds left. The tough foul call on Kearns’ last-second prayer came moments after Isaiah Harris-Winn (Frederick, Md./St. Maria Goretti) hit a mid-range jumper to put the Runnin Royals up 85-83 with 4.6 showing.
Eastern Mennonite evens out at 8-8 with the hard-luck loss, including 2-5 in the ODAC. The Generals go to 7-9 and 3-4 in the ODAC.
The finish was a culmination of a frenetic final two minutes, where the teams combined to score on eight straight possessions, leading to four lead changes and two ties.
In a half where neither team led by more than six points, the visiting Generals were up 78-73 after senior Andy Kleinlein knocked in two free throws with 3:10 remaining.
Jerome Jones (Charles Town, W.V./Washington) canned a triple to get EMU back in gear, and Xavier McCants (Olney, Md./Sherwood) followed with a pair of free throws to tie the score at 78-78 with 2:26 showing.
In a great coaching move, the Royals targeted Kleinlein on his defensive end, as W&L’s All-ODAC guard was saddled with four fouls. McCants posted him up and drew the fifth with 1:08 to play, sending Kleinlein and his career high 35 points to bench.
McCants hit both tosses again, putting EMU back up, 81-80.
After a timeout, Kearns pushed his way to the hoop and drew the fifth on McCants, but he made only one to leave the score tied with 43.8 on the clock. Khalil Davis (Harrisonburg, Va./Spotswood) quickly sliced inside for two, giving the Royals an 83-81 lead back with 34.2 to play, and left EMU expecting one more possession because of the 30-second shot clock.
Roy McMillan made a nice driving lay-up for the Generals, tying the game once again to set up the final seconds.
Despite a hot 9-0 start to the game for Eastern Mennonite, the first half was just as tight. Three times the Royals had nine-point margins, including at 29-20 less than 10 minutes in, before they hit an offensive funk and Washington and Lee grabbed a 46-43 lead at halftime.
EMU shot 52.8% from the floor in the game, including 8-22 from outside. Jones and Harris-Winn each put in 16 points and had two steals. McCants added 11 points and was second on the team with four rebounds.
RaShawn Latimer (Warrenton, Va./Kettle Run) and Davis each scored nine times with the latter adding four assists. Freshman Josh Good (Luray, Va./Luray) had a team best eight rebounds to go with six points and two steals.
Kleinlein led all players with his 35, shooting 10-16 from the floor, including 5-10 from long range. Clayton Murtha hit a double double with 17 points and 15 rebounds.
The Royals look to rebound with a tough road game at Randolph College on Saturday. Game time is 4:30pm.