After connecting on more than half of their shots in the first half, the EMU basketball men went cold over the final 20 minutes, flipping a one-point lead into a 15-point deficit. That was the tale of the game in Saturday's 75-60 ODAC loss at Ferrum College.
The Runnin Royals started out well as they scored first in the road game. Their defense then held Ferrum scoreless for a stretch of more than five minutes, where sophomores Josh Whelan (Fort Defiance, Va./Fort Defiance) and Kobi Alexander (Madison, Va./Madison County) scored all of the points in a 9-0 run for a 27-18 lead.
But over the next two and a half minutes, the Panthers (8-8/3-4 ODAC) got a three-point play followed by a trio of triples to ignite a 12-2 run to suddenly get in front, 30-29.
But the second period belonged to the home team. Another three pointer opened the stanza as the Panthers started on a 25-9 streak to go up 59-44 by the midway point of the second. Eastern Mennonite scored six straight to get the margin back into single digits, but another long ball quelled the momentum.
The Panthers quickly bumped the lead up to 16 points with five minutes to play and the men never recovered.
The Runnin Royals shot 41% in the second half as they settled at a solid 47% for the game. Ferrum connected on 51% of their shots, however, including 11-of-32 three pointers. EMU was just 3-for-13 from outside.
Hill led the team with 19 points, nine rebounds and three assists. Tim Jones (Forestville, Md./Central) scored 14 with five rebounds. Evans chipped in eight points and three steals. Jamel Howard (Leesburg, Va./Tuscarora) added five rebounds, as he and Hill combined for seven of the teams' 13 offensive boards.
Rashad Reed was the difference maker for Ferrum, scoring 31 points on 13-22 shooting. James Smith Jr. added 16 off the bench, as the duo each drained four longballs.
The Royals (3-13/1-6 ODAC) head into a vital three-game stretch to end January, hosting Emory & Henry next Wednesday followed by Hampden-Sydney on Saturday. EMU then plays at Bridgewater on Wednesday, Jan. 29.