Despite never trailing in the first half, the Runnin Royals needed a late 8-0 run to force overtime before pulling out an 81-79 win at ODAC rival Roanoke College in Salem, Va. Ryan Yates (Alexandria, Va./T.C. Williams) hit the game-winning shot with five seconds left in OT as Eastern Mennonite improved to 4-3 overall and 1-1 in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference.
The Royals scored a quick four points to start the game and led by as many as 12 over the opening 20 minutes. But Roanoke scored the final 10 points of the period to get within 41-39 at intermission.
The teams traded leads in the second, before EMU held the Maroons without a field goal for the final five minutes of regulation.
With 5:04 left, Roanoke led 69-63. The Royals sputtered their comeback attempt by missing their next four free throws, but then got an 8-0 run going when Yates hit a layup with 3:45 to go. Marcel Crump (Richmond, Va./Highland Springs) connected on a pair of free throws, and David Falk (Madison, Va./Madison) tied the game with a bucket with 2:10 left.
After another RC miss, RJ Sims (Fort Washington, Md./Friendly) cut inside and put the Royals in front, 71-69 with 1:37 on the clock, getting an assist from Crump.
In a wild finish to regulation, the teams combined for six missed shots, three offensive rebounds and three turnovers over the next 94 seconds. The Maroons finally tied the score at 71-71 when Julian Ramirez made two free throws. Sims missed a last-second jumper and the game went into OT.
EMU scored first in the extra session before Roanoke skipped in front by as many as three points. A 5-0 spurt put the Royals back in front, capped by a Crump jumper with 1:01 to go made it 79-77.
Ethan Humphries tied it back up for the home team, hitting a layup with 37 left. But Yates hit the game-winner with five ticks showing, producing the final 81-79 margin. The Maroons missed a three pointer at the buzzer, giving the men their first ODAC win.
The Royals shot 48.5% from the floor, including 4-for-6 in overtime, but they kept the game close by going just 13-25 from the free throw line. Roanoke finished at 44.0% and 10-17 from the stripe.
Crump had a career game as he topped all scorers with 30 points, including three assists, three rebounds and two steals. The junior shot 10-14 from the floor and made 10 of his 11 free throws. Crump becomes the third Royal to score 30 in a game over the past four years. No one has scored more than 30 since it was done four times during the 2009-10 season.
Yates was the only other Royal in double figures as he finished with 18 counters.
Sims tallied nine points. Falk played in foul trouble much of the game, but still had 10 rebounds and three blocked shots. Freshman EJ Baltimore (Bristow, Va./Patriot) added nine points off the bench.
Andrew Daniels led Roanoke with 20 points. Daniel Eacho added 18 points and 10 rebounds.
Eastern Mennonite has a few days off for final exams. They next play at the Don Glick Classic hosted by Bridgewater College next weekend. The Royals take on Virginia Intermont at 6:00pm on Friday, followed by Final Four team North Central (Ill.) next Saturday at 2:00pm.