If only the Runnin Royals could have erased the first half against Randolph-Macon and just started the game at halftime. Eastern Mennonite's men scorched in 53 points in Wednesday's second half, but they couldn't dig all the way out of a 46-23 halftime hole, falling 84-76 to the Yellow Jackets in Ashland.
EMU slides to 6-9 overall, including 1-6 in the rigorous Old Dominion Athletic Conference, while R-MC improves to 8-8 and 4-3.
The Royals missed their first five shots and quickly fell behind the eight ball, 10-0. Xavier McCants (Olney, Md./Sherwood) came off the bench and quickly scored four straight, but the Yellow Jackets proceeded to dump in the next 19 points to lead 23-4 at the midpoint of the first half.
The men got within 25-13 before R-MC regained their composure. The home team scored the final seven points of the frame to lead 46-23 at intermission.
Randolph-Macon simply out-shot EMU in the first, 67% to 33%.
Led by Isaiah Harris-Winn (Frederick, Md./St. Maria Goretti), the men showed signs of life in the second, but still trailed 69-54 with 7:53 remaining. Harris-Winn and Jerome Jones (Charles Town, W.V./Washington) hit back-to-back threes and the Royals were suddenly within single digits at 69-60 with more than six minutes left.
And the Runnin Royals kept on coming. Harris-Winn hit his fifth triple of the half to cut the deficit to 71-65 with 2:56 to go. Darryl Christian (Forest, Va./Brookville) joined the act and got EMU within five points at 74-69 after hitting two free throws with 1:54 showing.
The men quickly turned to fouling, but the Yellow Jackets responded. Jones canned a jumper to keep it at five at 76-71 with 1:11 to go, and Harris-Winn connected on a pair of free throws to stay within 79-73 with 30 seconds left.
But that would be it for the Royals as a turnover and missed trey allowed R-MC to score the next five points from the free throw line to ice it. Harris-Winn hit another three to produce the final, 84-76.
The Runnin Royals finished with a 43% shooting clip, including 41% from long range. But the cold first and R-MC finishing at 59% was too much to overcome. The Yellow Jackets also connected on 8-of-16 threes.
Harris-Winn was unconscious in the second half, hitting all six of his three pointers. He scored 24 of his career high 27 in the final 20 minutes to go with six rebounds. The sophomore finished 7-for-11 from long range, just missing D.J. Hinson's program record of eight triples in a game.
Christian, a seldom-used reserve, earning some playing time by scoring a career high 16 points, including 11 in the second. The freshman had scored a total of five points in seven outings coming into the game. Jones finished 3-for-7 from outside and added 13 points.
Lamont Moore led Randolph-Macon with 24 counters, including 13-16 from the free throw line. Daniel Noe added 17 points and seven rebounds.
Eastern Mennonite is slated to host Hampden-Sydney on Saturday. With Winter Storm Jonas boring down on the East Coast, a final decision on that game is expected on Thursday.