The Runnin Royals limited No. 15 Virginia Wesleyan to one of their worst shooting games of the season, but they couldn't keep the Marlins off the offensive glass in a 73-49 loss in Harrisonburg Wednesday night.
EMU played stingy defense over the opening 13 minutes and held an 18-15 after a bucket from Chris Simmons (Culpeper, Va./Culpeper County) at the 6:56 mark. Virginia Wesleyan got offensive putbacks on their next two possessions, however, igniting an 18-3 run to finish the half. A three pointer from Michael Williams (Richmond, Va./Varina) was all the men could muster during the stretch as VWU took a 33-21 lead into halftime.
The Royals trimmed the margin to 10 points, and trailed 39-29 after a Tim Jones (Forestville, Md./Central) steal and lay-in, but the visitors scored the next eight points to build up a cushion. Jones converted an and-1 with 8:52 remaining to get EMU within 50-38 before the comeback ran out of gas.
The teams finished with similar shooting marks, with EMU at 38.5% and Virginia Wesleyan ay 40.8%. The Marlins stand second in the ODAC with a 44.0% shooting mark on the season.
The difference came in two areas: turnovers and rebounding. Eastern Mennonite was -8 in turnover margin. And the Marlins raked in 19 offensive rebounds for a 21-4 advantage in second chance points.
Jones led all scorers with 21 points on 8-for-15 shooting. He was one of four Royals with five rebounds. Williams scored 11 points, breaking double figures for the fourth time in the last five games.
DJ Hill (Woodbridge, Va./Hylton) added eight points and five boards, while Simmons put up five and five from the bench.
Daniel Spencer led Virginia Wesleyan with 20 points and seven rebounds. Percy Burt finished with 10 points and 15 rebounds.
Eastern Mennonite (5-16/3-9 ODAC) holds on to a three-way tie for ninth in the ODAC standings. Only the top 10 teams qualify for the conference tournament. The Royals head to Guilford College on Saturday, playing at 2:00pm.