Despite attempting just one free throw all game, visiting Randolph-Macon shot their way past the Runnin Royals Saturday afternoon, 91-65. The visiting Yellow Jackets, ranked fifth in the nation, more than made up for their lack in free throws by hitting 16-of-30 three pointers as they finished off a 23-2 regular season.
EMU is 10-15 overall as they head into the postseason. At 5-11 in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference, the men earned the No. 10 seed in the ODAC Tournament, and will play at No. 7 Emory & Henry Monday night at 7:00pm.
Showing the depth of the ODAC, the Wasps finished 16-9 (9-7 ODAC) a year after winning the ODAC Championship, yet had to settle for a First Round game in this year's tourney. The top six teams head straight into next Thursday's quarterfinals.
Emory & Henry won both meetings during the regular season, 75-60 in Emory on Dec. 5, and 85-75 in Harrisonburg on Feb. 2.
Randolph-Macon, which cruised to the top seed in this year's tourney, jumped to a quick 6-0 lead by hitting three pointers on their first two possessions. The pattern continued all day.
Eastern Mennonite made a quick attack back, getting within 9-8. The teams traded triples, and EMU was still hanging around at 20-15 after a bucket from DJ Hill (Woodbridge, Va./Hylton). That's when the Yellow Jackets went on a 10-0 run, including two more longballs, to inflate a 30-15 margin.
R-MC kept running to the break, ending on a 23-6 tear to lead 43-21 at halftime.
The visitors bumped the cushion to 30 early in the second, and Eastern Mennonite could never get closer than 23 after that, despite shooting 61.5% for the half.
Even with the loss, the home crowd got a highlight moment at the end of the game, when senior Chad Simmons (Williamsburg, Va./Bruton) hit a layup with seven seconds remaining. Simmons, one of eight seniors on the team, suffered an injury in the preseason and had missed the entire year. He entered for the final 25 seconds of play and scored in his final home game.
The Runnin Royals finished with a shooting clip of 55.6% (25-45 FGs) for their highest shooting percentage since hitting 56.6% in a season-opening 90-74 win at Averett. The men aggressively attacked the rim in the second half, where they earned all 28 of their free throw attempts. Making their attempts was a different story, however, as the Royals sunk just 11 for 39% from the stripe.
Randolph-Macon made 37-of-64 shots all night for 57.8%. Their 16 three pointers were their third-highest total of the season, while 55.6% clip from outside was their second best.
Each team had 27 rebounds, including five offensive, but EMU was -6 in turnover margin.
In his first action since Nov. 28, Christian Hansen (Manassas Park, Va./Osbourn Park) grabbed a game high six rebounds.
Luke Neeley led Randolph-Macon by drilling 8-of-10 three pointers en route to 26 points. Buzz Anthony added 12 points, four assists and three steals.
The men's basketball program honored its eight seniors in pregame ceremonies: Xavier McCants (Olney, Md./ Sherwood), Chad Simmons, Christian Hansen, Tariq Caldwell (Richmond, Va./Lee-Davis), Travis Clower, Mark Loving (Woodford, Va./Caroline), Sammy Thomas and Josh Good (Luray, Va./Luray). The group has accounted for 547 games, including 169 starts, during their time at EMU.