The Runnin Royals scored on their first seven possessions of Saturday's overtime game against Apprentice, rolling to a 90-80 win over the Builders on day one of the Don Glick Classic at Bridgewater College.
The EMU basketball men had scored the final four points of regulation to earn the extra time, where Jamel Howard (Leesburg, Va./Tuscarora) opened with his first three pointer of the year. The Royals scored on eight of their nine possessions over the additional five minutes and shot a season-best 51.4% from the floor to get the win.
Eastern Mennonite (2-7) finishes at the Don Glick Classic on Sunday, taking on No. 3 Wittenberg at 1:00pm. Wittenberg (6-0), who beat host Bridgewater 96-74 in Saturday's late game, will be EMU's third nationally ranked opponent already this year.
Against Apprentice (5-4), each team owned a four-point lead over the first half.
Despite more swings in momentum in the second period, the margin stayed small. With 5:28 to go, Apprentice was holding a slim 63-62 edge. The Royals came up empty on three straight possessions and the Builders executed a patient 7-0 run for their biggest lead of the day at 70-62 with 3:29 remaining.
Howard stemmed the tide with a huge three-point play after an offensive rebound, and a minute later Tim Jones (Forestville, Md./Central) added a three-point play to slice the margin to 70-68.
After a Builder score, Jones hit Tie Evans (Henrico, Va./Steward School) for a big three to make it a one-point game heading into the final minute. Howard blocked a shot on Apprentice's next possession and Jones sunk a free throw to lock up the score at 72-72 with 44 seconds to go. Both teams came up empty from there so the game slipped into overtime.
Howard drilled a triple late in the shot clock to start OT and after an Apprentice three, DJ Hill (Woodbridge, Va./Hylton) scored on an offensive putback. A defensive stop turned into a quick layup for Jones before Hill blocked a shot and got a fastbreak feed from Mizz Nyagwegwe (Norristown, Pa./Dock Mennonite Academy) for an 81-75 lead. Jones eventually converted a three-point play to cap a 14-4 streak for an 86-76 with 1:22 left in overtime.
There was no coming back for the Builders, who missed five-of-six three point attempts in OT.
The Runnin Royals simply played smart basketball, with 16 assists compared to 13 turnovers as a team. That triggered good looks at the hoop and 37-of-72 shooting for 51.4%. They also made 7-of-17 three pointers and held a 46-42 rebounding edge. EMU's biggest weakness from free throw shooting, where the men were only 9-23 for 39%.
Jones led all scorers with a career high 25 points on 10-of-18 shooting. He poured in nine in OT. The point guard also tied his season high with six assists and did not commit a turnover.
Hill had a successful return to the lineup after missing four games, notching his third double double with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Howard finished with his best game of the season at 12 points, six boards and two steals.
Nyagwegwe came off the bench and hit 4-of-8 triples for 12 points, five rebounds and three assists. Michael Williams (Richmond, Va./Varina) had nine points and five rebounds while Evans also scored nine.
Drew Walton needed 20 shot attempts to lead Apprentice with 18 points and 15 rebounds. Corey Joyner was good for 18 points and eight assists.