Ryan Yates converted a key layup with 1:45 to play and led the Royals in points and assists. EMU defeated Shenandoah 83-73 on Wednesday, Jan. 7. (Photo by Scott Eyre)

Second half surge pushes EMU men past Shenandoah

EMU’s Runnin’ Royals shot 52 percent in the second half, including 7-for-10 from outside, as they erased a halftime deficit and picked up an 83-73 win at Shenandoah University Wednesday night. Early on, the men looked as rusty as might be expected after not playing for 17 days before extending their winning streak to a season-best four games.

The teams played a back-and-forth first half until the host Hornets ended the period on a 13-6 streak to lead 41-34 at the break. Eastern Mennonite shot just 36 percent over the opening 20 minutes.

That trend changed quickly in the second. Marcel Crump(Richmond, Va./Highland Springs) hit back-to-back three pointers to give EMU the lead, and center David Falk (Madison, Va./Madison County) converted a three point play to cap a 14-0 run which put the men in front 53-45. Crump had 10 points during the game-changing stretch.

The Royals then heated up from outside, as Jerome Jones (Charles Town, W.V./Washington) nailed back-to-back triples to push the edge to 63-50.  Eastern Mennonite led by as many as 15 before Shenandoah started their comeback over the final five minutes.

A 12-1 run sliced the lead to 75-71 with 1:57 to play. Ryan Yates (Alexandria, Va./T.C. Williams) had a big answer, however, as his layup changed the momentum and put the edge back at six points. That took the air out of SU’s sails and the Royals closed on a 6-2 run, including four free throws, to earn the 10-point win.

EMU out-shot their hosts 43-to-38 percent, and also shot a season-best 10-19 for 53 percent from three point range. The men grabbed 23 offensive rebounds en route to a 56-36 domination of the glass.

Yates led a balanced attack with 18 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. Crump finished with 16 counters. Falk had 13 points and a season-high 18 boards. Jones hit four triples and charted 14 points.

Jared Carithers led the Hornets with 23 points while Malcolm Clark added 18 points, seven rebounds, six steals and four assists.

Eastern Mennonite improves to 9-3 on the season, including 2-1 in the ODAC, while Shenandoah slides to 1-11 and 0-3. The Royals return home on Saturday for their first game in Yoder Arena since Dec. 16. They host surprising Lynchburg College at 7 p.m. At 8-4, LC hasn’t lost a game by more than four points this season.