BRIDGEWATER, Va. - Eastern Mennonite led by double-digits for much of the second half Wednesday night as the Royals fought off the Bridgewater College Eagles, 81-64, in ODAC hoops action.
The Eagles battled the Royals on even terms for most of the first half, but George Johnson swished a long 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Royals a 41-29 lead at the break.
The Eagles stayed within striking distance early in the second half and had the deficit in single digits, 50-41, when Rick Maloney hit a pair of free throws at the 13:17 mark.
EMU then outscored the Eagles 15-7 over the next four minutes to open up a 17-point lead.
A layup by Eli Crawford and a 3-pointer by Johnson put the Royals on top 55-41. After a layip by Maloney, Crawford knocked down a 3-pointer for a 58-43 lead. A 3-pointer by Kyle Hammond and a layup by Justin Brake whittled the margin down to 10, but five points from Johnson and a layup by Crawford gave the Royals a 65-48 lead with 9:20 left in the game.
Orie Pancione controlled the paint for EMU, finishing with 22 points on 10-for-11 shooting from the floor. Johnson scored 18 points and Eli Crawford added a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Hammond paced the Eagles with 16 points while Cody Griffith added 13 and Brake scored 10. Maloney pulled down a game-high 12 boards.
"Our effort was there, but we had 31 turnovers. We did hit some shots tonight but we weren't able to hit key shots," said Bridgewater head coach Don Burgess. "EMU's guys stepped up and made shots and made plays. Orie Pancione scored 22 points on just 11 shots Eli Crawford always seems to hurt us."
The Eagles dropped to 6-16 overall and 2-11 in the ODAC while EMU improved to 17-4, 8-4 in the ODAC.