The Runnin Royals were in control much of Wednesday's night clash in Bridgewater, walking away with a convincing 80-67 win over their rivals. Tim Jones (Forestville, Md./Central) scored a career high 27 points and Tie Evans (Henrico, Va./Steward School) also set career marks with 16 points and six assists.
The men will look to carry the momentum into this Saturday's important ODAC game at Randolph. Game time in Lynchburg is 2:00pm.
The Royals scored the first five against Bridgewater and led 11-6 after an Evans layup at the 14:32 mark. But that would be their last points for nearly five minutes, as BC scored 12 straights points to jump in front, 18-11.
A putback from Josh Whelan (Fort Defiance, Va./Fort Defiance) triggered just as big of a momentum swing. Jones then pulled off a Reggie Miller-esque sequence after a fastbreak layup, stealing the ensuing inbounds and converting the and-1 to push EMU back ahead 21-20.
The Royals never let down, closing the final four minutes of the half on a 14-2 tear. Evans had six of those points, hitting not one, but two long three pointers, each as the shot clock expired. Altogether, Eastern Mennonite had a 30-9 run over the final 9:40 of the half to lead 41-27 at the break.
Bridgewater made a small run to start the second half, getting within 49-42. But defense again turned the tide as the Runnin Royals got back-to-back steals and lay-ups to cap a 6-0 spurt, pushing the margin back to 55-42.
EMU had an answer for every Eagle jab and kept the lead between nine and 15. At one point down the stretch, the Royals grabbed two straight offensive rebounds to waste 55 seconds off the clock before Bridgewater committed a foul. The men scored five in a row from the free throw line to inflate a 78-63 cushion and put the game away with 1:31 to play.
The Royals were firing on all cylinders, highlighted by the team shooting a season-best 53.6% from the floor (30-56 FGs). They also made 6-of-12 three pointers, the first time this season shooting 50% from outside. EMU was 14-21 from the free throw line, their second-highest total of the year.
Bridgewater shot 43.6% from the floor, and Eastern Mennonite controlled the glass as well, 39-25, aided by a season best 14 offensive boards.
Jones connected on a variety of pull-up jumpers and slashes to the hoop en route to his 27. He also broke a career mark with 10 made free throws on 12 attempts. Jones also picked out three steals.
Evans was spot-on from outside, draining 4-of-5 triples, to go with his six helpers.
The win more than makes up for an early-season loss to BC, which was a non-conference game, and evens the two rivals at 2-8 in the ODAC play.
Chandler Murray needed 19 shots to lead Bridgewater with 22 points. Davrion Greer had 17 points and seven rebounds.