At the 11:04 mark in the first half, the Runnin Royals led 22-15 after a second change bucket from DJ Hill (Woodbridge, Va./Hylton). The men looked good, passing the ball well and committing just three turnovers to that point.
That's when the turnover bug bit.
The EMU basketball men had 17 miscues over the final three-fourths of the game, negating their sizeable shooting advantage and giving visiting Emory & Henry a 78-70 decision.
The Wasps (4-13/1-7 ODAC) finally got in front for the first time at 31-30 and bumped the margin to 42-37 at the half.
Scoring was mostly back-and-forth in the second until EHC used an 8-2 jab for a 66-57 lead at the 10-minute mark. Both teams slowed down from that point, but the Wasps still managed to earn their biggest margin of the night at 71-60.
The Royals looked ready to make a run, getting a bucket from Michael Williams (Richmond, Va./Varina) followed by a Hill steal and three pointer from Tie Evans (Henrico, Va./Steward School). Having whittled the margin to a manageable six, the men dug in for another defensive stop, but EHC's Grant Jordan fought past two Royals and swished a long three pointer as the shot clock expired. The men missed on their end before the Wasps added a second deflating shot, this time Micah Banks banking an elbow jumper off the glass to bump the lead back to 11.
Evans hit another triple to get EMU within 76-70 with three minutes to play, but Emory & Henry slowed down the game and the Royals missed their final five shots to come up short.
The men connected on 28-of-60 field goals for 47%, better than EHC's 40%. They also had solid marks from three and the free throw line. But the Royals tied their season high with 20 turnovers and a -10 turnover margin.
All five of the starters scored in double figures, led by Tim Jones (Forestville, Md./Central) netting 16 with a season high eight rebounds as well as four assists. Evans shot 4-of-9 from outside and set career highs with 15 points and five assists.
Hill added 12 points and eight boards. Williams scored 11 and Josh Whelan (Fort Defiance, Va./Fort Defiance) chipped in 10. Jamel Howard (Leesburg, Va./Tuscarora) had a team high nine rebounds off the bench.
Colin Molden was the catalyst for EHC with 15 points and five assists. Anthony Williams scored a team high 16, while Banks had 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Eastern Mennonite (3-14/1-7 ODAC) stays at home this weekend for a doubleheader with the EMU women. The Runnin Royals take on Hampden-Sydney at 2:00pm, followed by the women against Washington and Lee.
The men's contest on Saturday is also noted as a Coaches vs. Cancer Suits And Sneakers Game, as the teams raise awareness and funds to fight cancer.