BRIDGEWATER, Va. – Eastern Mennonite closed the first half with a 5-1 spurt in the final minute to open up a 14-point lead Wednesday evening and the Royals went on to defeat the Bridgewater College Eagles, 80-63, in ODAC action.
Eastern Mennonite (8-11, 5-8 in the ODAC) hoisted 38 shots from 3-point range and connected on 14 against the Eagles' zone defense. For the game, the Royals shot 43.8 percent from the floor, making 28-of-64 shots. EMU took 18 more shots than Bridgewater as the Eagles connected on 24-of-48 shots for 52.2 percent.
The Royals jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead, but the Eagles battled back and closed to within 15-10 on a layup by freshman big man Efe Balfour.
Bridgewater (6-15, 5-8 in the ODAC) stayed within striking distance by battling the Royals to a standoff on the boards and shooting 50 percent from the floor in the first 20 minutes.
The Royals pushed ahead by nine, 21-12, just past the midway point of the first half, but the Eagles used a layup by Romello Crowell and a 3-pointer from the corner by Keonte Dennis to pull within four, 21-17, with 7:53 left on the first-half clock.
A layup by Crowell kept the deficit at four, 25-21, before back-to-back 3-pointers by EMU's Travis Clower pushed the margin to double digits, 31-21.
A 3-pointer by Khalil Davis gave the Royals a 38-24 lead with 1:47 left, but two free throws by Hunter Dotson and a layup by Balfour cut the margin back to 10, 38-28.
Isaiah Harris–Winn knocked down a 3-pointer for a 41-28 EMU lead at the one minute mark. Trenton Ray hit 1-of-2 free throws for the Eagles before Jerome Jones scored on a layup in the closing seconds to give the visitors a 43-29 halftime lead.
Crowell opened the second half with a layup, but the Royals scored the next five points to lead by 17. Eastern Mennonite led by as much as 25 points in the second half and finished with the 17-point, 80-63 victory.
Balfour just missed a double-double as he led the Eagles with a career-high 23 points to go along with nine rebounds. Dennis scored a career-high 15 points and grabbed eight boards while freshman point guard Crowell tallied a career-high 13 points to go along with seven boards and five assists.
Harris-Winn paced the Royals with 19 points and Jerome Jones scored 13.
Bridgewater returns to action on Saturday when the Eagles travel to Salem, Va., to meet the Roanoke College Maroons. Game time is set for 1:00 p.m.