The Runnin Royals did a lot of things well in Saturday's men's basketball exhibition at D-I James Madison University. The Dukes' overall height advantage made the difference in the end, an 80-65 final.
Eastern Mennonite University's regular season starts next Saturday, Nov. 9, when Averett visits Yoder Arena at 2:00pm. If the men did what they did against JMU, they should expect a solid season despite the loss of eight seniors.
Even with the young team, which returned only five players who had played in even half of EMU's games in 2018-19, the Runnin Royals showed no fear of the mighty Dukes, especially on the defensive end. Tie Evans (Henrico, Va./Steward School) sunk a free throw at the 18:44 mark, giving EMU the first lead of the game.
JMU flipped ahead with a three pointer, but the men had the game tied at 10-10 after a short jumper from DJ Hill (Woodbridge, Va./Hylton).
The Dukes quickly pushed the edge to 25-14 and carried it into halftime at 42-30.
Despite being limited on their offensive end, Eastern Mennonite stuck with the defensive intensity in the second half to hang around on the scoreboard.
Tim Jones (Forestville, Md./Central) scored the final six points of an 8-0 run, as the Runnin Royals held JMU scoreless for a stretch of nearly three minutes. Jones' two free throws at the 4:47 mark got EMU back within 63-52 as crunch time approached.
The Dukes had the final say, however, holding off the men to the 15-point final margin.
Eastern Mennonite limited JMU to 43% shooting, including 6-for-26 from outside. The men also got their fair share of second chance points, with each team gaining 10 offensive rebounds, and only committed 10 turnovers against the Dukes' 11.
Jones finished with 17 points while Hill came in with 10. Deion Harwood (Goochland, Va./Goochland) canned a pair of three pointers, as the freshman guard scored 11.
Sophomore-transfer Josh Whelan (Fort Defiance, Va./Fort Defiance/West Virginia Tech) had a team best 12 rebounds, while Jamel Howard (Leesburg, Va./Tuscarora) blocked a pair of shots in the first half and had five rebounds.
Zach Jacobs led JMU off the bench with 21 points and 13 rebounds, while fellow big man Dwight Wilson went for 11 and 12. The Royals held Matt Lewis, a Preseason All-CAA First Team pick, to 12 points on 5-for-15 shooting.