The offense is certainly working, as EMU's basketball men shot a season-high 55.6% from the floor in an 88-79 non-conference win at Averett Saturday afternoon. The Runnin Royals hit 12 three pointers and trailed for only 58 seconds as they improved to 3-2 on the season.
Eastern Mennonite is averaging an ODAC-best 86.0 points per game, three points better than nationally-regarded Virginia Wesleyan.
The men return home on Tuesday for an ODAC battle against Randolph-Macon College. Start time in Yoder Arena is at 8:00pm, immediately following an EMU women's basketball game against Roanoke which starts at 6:00pm. A single ticket gains admission to both games of the ODAC doubleheader.
The Runnin Royals used defense for a quick start, holding Averett scoreless for more than three minutes en route to an 8-0 lead. Another handful of stops later in the half turned into a 10-0 run for EMU. Twins Jerome Jones (Charles Town, W.V./Washington) and Maleke Jones (Charles Town, W.V./Washington) hit back-to-back three pointers to finish off the tear, giving the men their biggest lead of the afternoon at 32-14 with 5:53 left in the half.
The Cougars gained some momentum, however, scoring the final eight of the period to get within 38-30 at the break.
Averett turned on the heat in the second, using an early 7-0 run to trim the lead to 45-43. EMU bumped it back up to five points before the home team used another 7-0 streak to gain their first lead of the night at 54-52. The teams twice traded points before Isaiah Harris-Winn (Frederick, Md./St. Maria Goretti) connected on a jumper to give the Royals the lead back at 57-56.
EMU earned a defensive stop and Harris-Winn followed with two free throws to start rebuilding a cushion. Jerome Jones then scored the final four points of a 10-0 run which put the lead back at 71-60 with 7:01 to go.
The men led by as many as 13 points down the stretch as they rolled to the 88-79 win.
Rebounds and turnovers were very close in the contest, but Eastern Mennonite simply out-shot their hosts. The Runnin Royals hit on 30-of-54 attempts, including 12-28 from outside, for 55.6%. Averett settled at 28-64 for 43.8% along with a frigid 1-for-13 from three.
Maleke Jones had a brilliant game, charting 23 points, seven rebounds, four assists and four steals. The guard drained 4-of-7 three pointers. Harris-Winn came in with 21 points.
Jerome Jones added three triples en route to 12 points and five rebounds. RaShawn Latimer (Warrenton, Va./Kettle Run) dumped in 11. Khalil Davis (Harrisonburg, Va./Spotswood) topped all players with six assists.
Averett was led by 16 points and nine rebounds from Charles Bryant.