Early Lead Not Enough Against Randolph

Mizz Nyagwegwe scored in double figures for the fourth time this season. (photo by Scott Eyre)
Mizz Nyagwegwe scored in double figures for the fourth time this season. (photo by Scott Eyre)

A hot start wasn't enough for the Runnin Royals as they fell 62-56 to Randolph in Harrisonburg Saturday afternoon.

EMU's basketball men (3-11/1-4 ODAC) scored on four of their first five possessions to take a quick lead, before an 8-0 spurt bumped their early margin to 17-7. But then the Royals went cold. The men scored just five points over the final 13:32 of the half, allowing Randolph (6-9/2-4 ODAC) to close on a 21-5 push, jumping in front 28-22.

The Royals were efficient from outside in the second, hitting 5-of-12 attempts, and they only made six turnovers, but Randolph held their edge by only making three miscues in the final 20 minutes and then going 10-15 from the free throw line.

A triple from Mizz Nyagwegwe (Norristown, Pa./Dock Mennonite Academy) gave EMU their only lead in the second half, 35-34 at the 12:53 mark. But the WildCats answered with a quick jumper to go back in front, and rattled off six straight points to build a little cushion.

The margin stayed at one or two possessions most of the half until Randolph earned their biggest lead at 57-49 with 1:13 to go.

The Royals made a final push, getting within 59-56 on a three pointer from Tim Jones (Forestville, Md./Central) with 20 seconds left. But Randolph made three-of-four free throws and the men turned the ball over twice to produce the final six-point margin.

Eastern Mennonite gave another solid defensive effort, holding the WildCats to just 32.8% shooting. Randolph shot only 4-21 from three point range, including missing all nine of their attempts in the second half. The biggest difference was a -10 turnover margin, as the WildCats made just three miscues all game, leading to an 18-3 edge in points off turnovers.

Nyagwegwe notched career highs with 17 points and eight rebounds. DJ Hill (Woodbridge, Va./Hylton) added 13 points, nine rebounds and two blocked shots. Jones scored 12 as both he and Josh Whelan (Fort Defiance, Va./Fort Defiance) had three assists.

Brian Smith topped Randolph with 17 points and six assists. Jerry Goodman added 14 points.

The Runnin Royals stay at home on Wednesday, hosting No. 4 Randolph-Macon on Wednesday night.