HARRISONBURG, Va. - It was a game of twos.
Taking on visiting Mary Baldwin in the Royals final game before Thanksgiving break, EMU took a two point lead into the half. They were outscored by two in the second half. But it was the final two, EMU outpacing the Fighting Squirrels by two in OT, that was the most important as Eastern Mennonite picked up an 89-87 win over Mary Baldwin.
- The Royals got on the board first, picking up a three from Landon Swingler just 27 seconds into the game. The Fighting Squirrels tied things up but eight straight points from EMU, including baskets from Chris Simmons, Mark Burkholder, Aviwe Mahlong and DaiJordan Brown pushed the Royals to an 11-3 lead. After an MBU freethrow, Brown hit a three to give EMU a 10-point advantage.
- Mary Baldwin then went on a run of their own, 13-2, and took a 17-16 lead before Mahlong sandwiched an MBU bucket with back-to-back threes. Mary Baldwin against battled back and took the lead but Mahlong was right there again with another three to give the Royals a one-point advantage. A Fighting Squirrel free throw tied things but a three from Brown and a layup from Michael Watlington pushed the EMU lead to five. The two teams traded baskets and freethrows before an MBU layup brought them within two at 36-38 at the half.
- EMU came out of the gate firing in the second half, going on an 14-4 run to start things to go up 52-40 before an MBU layup stopped the EMU tilt. Mary Baldwin then scored 15 of the next 18 points to tie things at 55 midway through the frame until Watlington put EMU back on top with a layup.
- Once again, the teams scored back and forth until it seemed like Mary Baldwin stole all the air out of the Yoder Arena with a dunk and a freethrow to go up five at the 6:35 mark. A Simmons basket brought the Royals within three but MBU kept answering anything EMU threw at them. But then Brown took over.
- With Mary Baldwin up five with less than two minutes left, Brown scored six straight, with a three and a hoop and harm, to give EMU a late lead. Mary Baldwin tied things at 77 and forced an OT period.
- In the OT period, Mahlong and Brown scored the first five of the frame to give EMU an 82-77 lead. A Fighting Squirrel basket cut the lead to three but Tim Jones hit an elbow jump shot to keep MBU at bay. Mary Baldwin pulled within one, 85-86, but Jones answered making three of his final four charity stripe shots to secure the win.
- Mahlong paced the Royals with 22 points and eight rebounds. He shot 6 of 9 from beyond the arc. Brown added 16 off the bench while Jones was one assist away from a double, finishing with 14 and nine. Simmons also chipped in 11 points.
By the Numbers
- 10-21 - EMU shot 48% from three for the game and shot 47% total from the field.
- 9 - EMU outscored Mary Baldwin 23-14 on fastbreak points.
- 10 - Mary Baldwin was just 17-27 from the freethrow line for the game.
Postgame Interviews with A. Mahlong and D. Brown
EMU will be off for a few days for Thanksgiving break. They'll be back on the court on Sunday when they travel to Marymount for a 3 pm game.