Royals Stomp Wasps

EMU Advances With 89-63 Win Over E&H

Posted: February 26, 2014

HARRISONBURG – Now that RJ Sims has played in his last home game as a member of the Eastern Mennonite University basketball team, things figure to quiet down a bit at Yoder Arena.

Sims, EMU’s lone senior, scored 16 points to join three other teammates in double figures as the Royals trounced Emory & Henry 89-63 in an Old Dominion Athletic Conference tournament first-round game Tuesday night.

From the bleachers over the past four seasons, it’s been impossible to miss the guard’s family contingent, who — led by Sims’ mother, Lasebia Brice — have made their mark in the most vocal of ways and proved to once again be the loudest of the 635 fans in attendance Tuesday.

“I will miss his mom like you wouldn’t believe,” EMU coach Kirby Dean said with a smile. “Sometimes when I’m watching game film, I get caught up watching her in the stands, ‘cause sometimes that’s more exciting than what our guys are doing between the lines.”

With the victory, fifth-seeded EMU (16-10) advanced to face fourth-seeded Lynchburg (17-8) at the Salem Civic Center in a quarterfinal game at 3 p.m. on Friday.

No distractions were needed for Dean on this particular night as his surging team extended its season-long winning streak to five games in fairly impressive fashion.

Powered by scores from six different players, the Royals closed the first half on an 18-4 run to break open a tied game and take a 40-26 advantage into intermission.

“It’s a good balance, because we all share the ball,” said junior guard Marcel Crump, who led all scorers with 21 points. “And sharing the ball has become contagious on this team.”

Emory & Henry (4-22) cut the deficit to 10 on three separate occasions early in the second half, but each time the Royals answered back with a bucket of their own and went on to lead by as many as 30 points.

Defense was the key, with EMU winning the turnover battle 22-6 and recording 18 steals – led by freshman wing Kwa McDonald’s five thefts.

“I think Eastern Mennonite is playing like one of the top-two teams [in the conference],” said Wasps coach David Willson, whose team fell to the Royals for the second time in four days. “I think them and Randolph-Macon are playing the best right now, and so we knew it was going to be a tough game.”

Sims’ self-described “exclamation point” came at the 2:30 mark of the second half, when he threw down an uncontested slam to send the home crowd into a frenzy and extend EMU’s advantage to 80-53.

“I feel like the chemistry is there, the defense is there,” Sims said. “We came in with a lot of new guys and it was rough in the beginning. I feel like things are clicking now, and we can do some damage.”

EMORY & HENRY (4-22)

Gravely 0-3 0-0 0, Self 3-9 0-2 6, Green 5-14 1-1 14, Mullins 4-7 4-5 14, Smith 3-7 1-2 7, Gilliam 0-1 0-0 0, Coles 2-4 3-5 7, Henry 1-2 0-0 2, Brown 0-1 0-0 0, Anzenberger 3-6 5-6 13. Totals 21-54 14-21 63.

EMU (16-10)

Falk 3-7 5-11 11, Williams 3-6 0-1 8, Sims 6-14 0-0 16, Crump 6-12 9-12 21, McDonald 2-3 1-1 5, Furbush 2-4 2-2 7, Hawkins 2-3 0-0 5, Yates 5-10 6-11 16. Totals 29-59 23-38 89.

Halftime—EMU 40-26. 3-Point Goals—Emory 7-21 (Green 3-8, Mullins 2-5, Brown 0-1, Anzenberger 2-4, Gravely 0-3), EMU 8-19 (Williams 2-3, Sims 4-8, McDonald 0-1, Furbush 1-2, Hawkins 1-2, Yates 0-3). Fouled Out—Coles. Rebounds—Emory 41 (Smith 8), EMU 31 (Falk 9). Assists—Emory 11 (Green 3), EMU 19 (Yates, McDonald, Crump 4). Total Fouls—Emory 25, EMU 20. A—635.

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