Marcel Crump (Richmond, Va./Highland Springs) and RJ Sims (Fort Washington, Md./Friendly) combined for 56 points as the Eastern Mennonite basketball men picked up a 78-72 win at Shenandoah Wednesday night. The Runnin Royals shot 55 percent during the decisive second half as they improve to 10-8 overall and 5-4 in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference.
EMU has now won four of their last five games. They entered the day tied with three other teams for fifth place in the conference, and took over sole possession of the spot as two of the other teams (Hampden-Sydney and Randolph) lost and the third (Bridgewater) didn’t play. The Eagles had their game at Virginia Wesleyan postponed to Thursday.
The EMU men led by as many as nine points early in the game before Shenandoah went ahead and took a 35-32 cushion into the locker rooms. Just minutes into the second, however, the Royals established control. David Falk (Madison, Va./Madison) capped a 7-0 run with a dunk, putting the men up 43-39.
It was a tie game with 10 minutes left, as SU locked up the score at 50-50 with a 7-0 run. But the Royals responded with five straight to go back in front. They would keep the lead the rest of the game.
Kwa McDonald (Frederick, Md./Tuscarora) buried a pair of three pointers during a key 7-0 run, bumping EMU’s lead back up to 64-55 with 5:28 to play. After a Shenandoah free throw, Sims hit a jumper for the biggest lead of the night, 66-56.
The Hornets got within six points at 70-64 with 2:33 to play, but Crump answered with a layup to steady the ship. The men then hit 6-of-8 free throws over the final 50 seconds of play to seal the win.
Eastern Mennonite had a 41-34 rebounding advantage in the game, but simply out-shot their opponents. The men hit 52.9 percent of their shots, their third-highest total of the season, while Shenandoah had a pedestrian mark of 42.6 percent.
Crump set a new career high by pouring in 35 points on 12-18 shooting. The junior earned 19 trips to the free throw line, which set a new EMU program record for free throws attempted. He finished 10-19 from the stripe.
Sims provided the great 1-2 scoring punch with Crump, and put in 21 of his own points. McDonald finished with nine off the bench. James Williams (Capitol Heights, Md./Archbishop Carroll) added seven points and seven rebounds, while Falk led all players with 10 boards.
Avery Green, the ODAC’s leading scorer, led Shenandoah with 40 points, but no other Hornet scored more than seven.
The Royals are back at home this weekend, hosting Roanoke Saturday night at 7 p.m. EMU topped the Maroons 81-79 in overtime when the two met on Dec. 7 in Salem.