An early 8-0 run gave the EMU men a lead they would never relinquish in a 92-72 drubbing of visiting Shenandoah Wednesday night.
The Runnin Royals showed little rust, despite returning from a break of nearly two weeks because of the Christmas holiday. EMU's last game was Thursday, Dec. 20. After working out of the early-game hiccup, the basketball men shot 52.9% from the floor and tied their season high with 92 points.
They have won three of their last four games to improve to 7-6 overall and 2-2 in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference.
EMU will look to continue the momentum in Saturday's hosting of Hampden-Sydney. The 4:30pm start will be the second straight doubleheader with EMU's basketball women, who earned a 72-68 overtime win over Roanoke before the men's game on Wednesday.
An offensive putback from Tariq Caldwell (Richmond, Va./Lee-Davis) started the men's early streak against Shenandoah, and his steal and dunk gave the team an 8-7 lead. The Royals would never trail again.
After SU got within 18-17, the men held them scoreless for 2:40. With the men's high-tempo offense in full gear, they rattled off 11 unanswered points during that short stretch, blowing open a 29-17 margin. Eastern Mennonite led by as many as 19 in the first half, when Caldwell assisted DJ Hill (Woodbridge, Va./Hylton) to make it 41-22.
They out-shot the Hornets 59% to 32% in the opening 20 minutes, and led 45-29 at halftime.
Shenandoah made a little noise in the opening minutes of second half, relying on Christopher Chaney to get within 51-39, but the Hornets simply didn't have the firepower to keep up with EMU.
Five Royals scored in double figures, led by 21 points from Travis Clower (Romney, W.V./Hampshire). The senior drilled 3-of-6 triples, while adding four assists and three steals. Caldwell provided the energy with his first career double double, 14 points and 12 rebounds. He also dished out four assists.
Sammy Thomas (Owings, Md./Northern) powered in 16 counters, while Hill added to the inside power with 12 points and nine rebounds off the bench. Jamel Howard (Leesburg, Va./Tuscarora) was good for 13 points and six rebounds. Point guard Tim Jones (Forestville, Md./Central) had a career high seven assists with seven rebounds. Xavier McCants (Olney, Md./Sherwood) put up eight points and five boards in his first game since Nov. 20.
Chaney led Shenandoah with 21 points and nine rebounds. Jaylen Williams added 15.
Eastern Mennonite limited SU to 39% shooting for the game and had a commanding 54-37 rebounding advantage.