HARRISONBURG, Va. -- Eastern Mennonite University's Royals surrendered all the shots Virginia Wesleyan College's men's basketball team could handle on Wednesday, but the Marlins' shots were flying like bats without radar.
By the time the final buzzer sounded, the No. 5 ranked Marlins had launched 81 shots, but connected on just 27 for a chilly 33.3%. That helped open the door for the Royals who connected on 51.7% for the game en route to posting an 87-75 upset in Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) competition.
It was the second lowest shooting percentage of the season for the Marlins (18-4, 10-3), who somehow still created a close game throughout the first half, despite a 59.1% shooting effort in the half by the Royals (15-7, 8-5). A lack of turnovers was part of it, as the Marlins lost control of the ball just twice in the half and only five times in the came. VWC trailed just 38-35 at the break after sparking a 15-8 run to cut a 26-18 EMU lead to just 34-33.
Senior Greg Montgomery (Virginia Beach/Princess Anne) put the Marlins on his back in the first three minutes of the second half, scoring eight straight points to push Virginia Wesleyan into a 43-40 lead. The teams tied at 45 and 47, before a layup by Blake Steele created a 49-47 lead for the home team, which never trailed again.
Virginia Wesleyan got enough scoring to stay close in the next few minutes and trailed just 57-55 after a Brandon Mitchell (Albany, Ga./Westover) basketball, but EMU ignited an 11-3 run to open up a 66-58 lead with 6:22 remaining to be played. VWC pulled within six at one point after that, but could not get closer.
The victory was the second in a row in the series for EMU.
Montgomery scored 26 points, hit second highest total of the season, hitting 10-of-22 shots for VWC. Mitchell came through with a career-high 17 points and junior Nick Doyle (Franklin/Southampton) added 10 points. Starters Tim Jones, Khory Moore, Cam Owens, and Kaelin Poe struggled from the field, combining for a 3-for-24 showing.
James Williams led EMU with 27 points, including a 13-of-13 effort from the free throw lines. Yates added 15 points and Woody Furbush tallied 12. The Royals posted a slim 45-42 edge in rebounding, helped by 18 boards from David Falk.
Virginia Wesleyan returns to competition on Saturday, Feb. 14, in ODAC play at Washington and Lee University at 2 p.m.