The Royals earned a 15-point lead early in the second at Randolph College, but EMU's basketball men couldn't close the deal, dropping a 79-71 decision in overtime.
Randolph used three pointer to tie the game at 66-66 with 58 seconds remaining in regulation. With time left on the next possession, EMU's men had a chance to win but would eventually fall to the WildCats in overtime on a rainy Saturday afternoon.
The Runnin Royals slip to 9-13 and 4-10 in the ODAC with the loss, while Randolph improves to 6-17 overall and 3-11 in the ODAC.
The first half was back-and-forth, with neither team getting ahead by more than three points. With 8:37 remaining, EMU's men used an 14-4 spurt, sparked by back-to-back buckets from Christian Hansen (Manassas Park, Va./Osbourn Park), to pull ahead by six at 29-23. Soon after, Isaiah Harris-Winn (Frederick, Md./St. Maria Goretti) dumped in a trey with 3:09 remaining to make it 35-27 for the Royals largest lead of the half.
The WildCats answered with a 11-4 run of their own to come within one at 32-31, forcing an EMU timeout with 2:10 left in the first. A late three-pointer for the home team knotted the game at 36-36 for an even draw at the half.
The Royals started the second half strong with a 7-0 run to go up 43-36. The WildCats cut the deficit to three points at 43-40, but then EMU rattled off a 13-0 run to bump the lead to 55-40 with just over 11 minutes remaining. Travis Clower (Romney, W.V./Hampshire) accounted for five in the run after a few tosses at the line and a layup.
The men still had the edge at 64-53 after DJ Hill (Woodbridge. Va./Hylton) hit two free throws at the 5:31 mark, before the WildCats started hitting shots.
Randolph came within four before Sammy Thomas (Owings, Md./Northern) and RaShawn Latimer (Warrenton, Va. / Kettle Run) both hit one-of-two foul shots to put the score at 66-60 with three minutes left. Ryan Fields drained back-to-back three pointers to knot the game up with 58 ticks left in the second. The score would stay that way to the end of regulation as neither team could manage another bucket.
The momentum carried into the extra period for the WildCats as they outscored the Royals 13-5. Harris-Winn gave EMU a one-point lead on the first free throw, but Randolph scored six straight to take a lead they would not relinquish, finishing with a score of 79-71.
The WildCats edged EMU in shooting with a 44.6%-42.1% advantage. Neither team shot well from beyond the arc, but the Royals had an advantage by converting on 18-of-22 free throws and on second chance points, going 11-0 against the WildCats. Committing 15 turnovers to just eight for Ranolph made the difference, however.
Harris-Winn canned four triples and finished with 20 points and six rebounds. Clower came off the bench adding 12 points and a couple dishes. Hansen and Latimer had eight points and three rebounds a piece.
Fields led the WildCats with 29 points, with Sammy Hooper adding 21.
The tough loss is the second straight for EMU, as the men look to rebound with a win on Wednesday when the return to Yoder Arena and host Shenandoah University. The game will be a rematch of the game on January 17 that the Hornets claimed 87-69 in Winchester, Va. Wednesday's game time is slated for 7:00pm.
EMU's cross country and track & field teams will also hold their Senior Recognition at halftime of the contest.