A hot start wasn't enough to carry the EMU men on Saturday, dropping a 75-69 road contest at Southern Virginia University in Buena Vista, Va.
The Runnin Royals (4-5) jumped to a 14-4 lead just over five minutes into play, getting points from six different players. But they shot just 37% the from the floor the rest of the way as the Knights methodically took over.
SVU (3-5) took their first lead at 21-20 and over the next minute-and-change used back-to-back-to-back treys to blow open a 32-23 margin. The Royals regained a little momentum by scoring the final six points of the half, with a steal and dunk from Tariq Caldwell (Richmond, Va./Lee-Davis) getting the men within 36-31 at the break.
The Knights started the second half on fire and blew the margin up to 18 points at 55-37. EMU made a small run before Southern Virginia pushed out to their largest lead at 68-48 with just 6:38 to play.
But a three pointer from Tim Jones (Forestville, Md./Central) started a comeback. The Royals held SVU scoreless for the next five minutes, slicing the once mighty cushion down to 68-59 when Jones assisted Caldwell on a layup with 2:09 to go.
Southern Virginia finally snapped EMU's 11-0 streak on a layup with 1:36 remaining. The Knights left the drawbridge down by missing the front end of two different one-and-one free throw opportunities, but they finally protected the castle by making four straight tosses to keep the lead at 74-65 with 17 seconds left.
Travis Clower (Romney, W.V./Hampshire) hit a late three pointer to provide the final six-point margin, which was the closest the score had been since the opening minute of the second half. The men ended the game on a 21-7 run.
SVU simply shot past the Royals, including a 44% to 40% advantage from the floor. The most glaring disparity came from the free throw line, with the Knights connecting on 14-of-21 attempts compared to just 9-for-25 for EMU.
Caldwell broke his career high by scoring 16 points while he tied for the team high with seven rebounds. Clower stroked in 4-of-9 threes and also hit for 16 counters.
Jones scored 14 points with six assists and Jamel Howard (Leesburg, Va./Tuscarora) added 12. The four players scored 58 of EMU's 69 points.
Sammy Thomas (Owings, Md./Northern) added seven rebounds, as the men earned a 43-35 rebounding edge.
Trey Dill was a huge key for Southern Virginia with 18 points and 13 rebounds. Jamier Cross scored 17.
Eastern Mennonite's men have a week off for final exams before stepping back onto the court at the Don Glick Classic next weekend at Bridgewater College. The Runnin Royals take on the Apprentice School next Saturday at 2:00pm, followed by Buffalo State on Sunday at noon.