The Eastern Mennonite men closed their first half of the season with a solid win Wednesday night, beating Mary Washington 79-71 in non-conference action. The Runnin Royals built a big lead early and then held off UMW to enter the break with an 8-4 record.
Dajon Daniel (Fredericksburg, VA/Mountain View) canned a three pointer on the first possession of the game, then after an Eagle bucket the men scored seven in a row to go up 10-2. Mary Washington got their second basket, but R.J. Sims (Fort Washington, MD/Friendly) scored the next six points for a quick 16-4 lead just 5:14 into the contest.
The Runnin Royals surged again, as Daniel capped a 13-2 run with another triple to push the lead to 29-12. The Eagles finally settled down and got within four before EMU took a 42-36 lead into halftime.
The teams traded jabs for much of the second half until Dorian Valentine (Bassett, VA/Carlisle) scored six straight to push the edge back up to 62-51.
Mary Washington fought back but would get no closer than four points. Down the stretch, EMU made just enough free throws and played great defense, limiting the Eagles to just three points over the final four minutes, to seal the 79-71 win.
The men shot 52%, nearly double what they shot in a loss to Christopher Newport just two days earlier.
Ryan Yates (Alexandria, VA/T.C. Williams) led four Royals in double figures with 18 points, eight rebounds and two steals. Sims finished with 17 points and three assists, while Daniel charted 15 with three assists.
UMW's Sean Armstrong (Richmond, VA/Monacan) led all players with 20 points.
The Runnin Royals close their first half at 8-4, including 1-2 in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference. After a 16-day break in action, Eastern Mennonite returns to the floor with a road game at Emory & Henry on Jan. 5.