The first half wasn’t so pretty, but the second half was something to write home about, as Eastern Mennonite used a 53-18 second stanza to roll to an 80-49 victory at rival Bridgewater Wednesday night.
Neither team played well to start the game, as there were nearly more fouls than points over the first few minutes. Bridgewater finally broke off a 9-9 tie with an 8-0 run to go up 17-9.
BC led by as many as nine before the Runnin Royals regrouped and trimmed it down. R.J. Sims (Fort Washington, MD/Friendly) sliced to the hoop for a layup to end the half, cutting the Eagles’ lead to four at 31-27.
The momentum continued into the second, as EMU scored the first five to skip in front for the first time since the opening minutes, 32-31. The two teams traded leads before the Runnin Royals scored eight straight, with a Randell Smith (Woodbridge, VA/Garfield) jumper pushing the lead to 42-37, and forcing Bridgewater to call a timeout.
The breather didn’t slow down EMU’s fastbreak, as the men scored another eight in row, all in transition, forcing yet another timeout at 50-37. The Royals added another bucket to cap an 18-0 run, with Smith getting eight during the streak. The sophomore added his third triple to finish off a 21-2 spurt before getting a sub.
The Royals weren’t done with their 55-39 lead, as they continued to force turnovers and crash the offensive boards. The lead was as high as 34 as Eastern Mennonite thoroughly dominated the second and ran away with the 80-49 win.
EMU shot 60% in the decisive final period while holding Bridgewater to 23% and winning the half 53-18. The Royals forced 10 turnovers and had a 28-15 command of the boards in the frame.
For the game, the men out-shot the Eagles 50% to 31% and forced 20 turnovers. EMU did struggle from the free throw line, hitting just 13-of-27 attempts.
Smith finished with a career best 11 points, all during the decisive second half surge. Sims led EMU with 12 points and four offensive boards, but was one of five men in double figures.
Owen Longacre (Telford, PA/Christopher Dock) had 11 points and seven rebounds, while Adam Burroughs (Roanoke, VA/Northside) put in 11 with four steals and three assists. Junior Andrew Thorne (Front Royal, VA/Skyline) was good for 10 points, nine rebounds and three steals.
Bridgewater freshman Aaron Adams (Ellicott City, MD/Centennial) led all players with 16 points. Point guard Ronnie Thomas (Roanoke, VA/Patrick Henry) scored 14 but also had six turnovers. Ed Reddick (Virginia Beach, VA/Kellam) had a game high 10 rebounds.
The Royals snap a five-game ODAC losing streak with the win, improving to 2-5 in the conference and 7-9 overall. BC dropped their tenth in a row, slipping to 4-12 and 1-6. Eastern Mennonite has now won five games in a row in the series between the two.
EMU will try to springboard off the win when they host Randolph on Saturday. Game time in Yoder Arena is 7:00pm.