HARRISONBURG, VA-Hampden-Sydney took a tough 79-63 road loss to the #3 Runnin' Royals of Eastern Mennonite University in its ODAC opener. With the loss, Hampden-Sydney falls to 4-2 overall and 0-1 in the ODAC while the Royals remain unbeaten at 6-0 and 2-0 in conference. The Tigers were led by sophomore Harrison George (Raleigh, NC/Leesville) who scored 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting while also snaring a team-high six rebounds.
Eastern Mennonite got off to a quick start, scoring the first eight points of the game before junior Ben Jessee (Midlothian, VA/Cosby) stopped the run with a three pointer. The Royals again extended their lead, but a Randall Ward (Richmond, VA/John Marshall) triple cut the Tiger deficit to five as they trailed 15-10 at the 12:54 mark.
The Royals, however, used the next four minutes and an 11-0 run to lead 26-10 eleven minutes into the game. Colin O'Neill (Fort Leavenworth, KS/Leavenworth) hit a lay up that sparked a 9-4 run to cut the deficit to 11.
The two teams traded baskets with Hampden-Sydney keeping it around an 11 point game, but a late Royal run pushed their lead to 43-25 at half.
George and Ward connected on back-to-back buckets to cut it to 43-29, but Eastern Mennonite responded with a 6-0 run to take its largest lead to that point at 49-29.
The Tigers chipped away, and two Jessee free throws capped off an 11-4 to bring the game to 13 at 53-40. Another big run by the Royals, however, again made it a 20 point game at 66-46 with 8:33 to play.
Neither team could gain any ground over the final minutes, with each team trading baskets. Hampden-Sydney was able to outscore the Royals 17-13 over the final eight and a half minutes.
While George led the way, Ru White (Chesterfield, VA/L.C. Bird) also hit double figures with 13 points and five rebounds. Jessee added eight points while Ward and Alex Potapov (Moscow, Russia/Florida Air) each scored seven. As a team, Hampden-Sydney was 39.2% (20-51) from the floor and 30.0% (3-10) from beyond the arc. Hampden-Sydney also outrebounded the Royals 39-27.
Eastern Mennonite had five players score in double figures and was led by Todd Phillips' 15 points. They shot 46.0% (29-63) on the night and connected on seven of their 19 three-point attempts (36.8%).
The Tigers return to action this Saturday as they host Johnson and Wales. Tip-off is set for 2:00 pm.