LEXINGTON, Va. — The eighth-seeded Washington and Lee men's basketball team shot just 37.3 percent (22-59) from the field in a 58-52 loss to ninth-seeded Eastern Mennonite in the first round of the ODAC Tournament at the Warner Center on Tuesday.
The Generals (13-13) led by as many as five, 19-14, in the first, but the Royals (15-11) ended the half on a 12-4 run, highlighted by five points from junior guard Dajon Daniel (Fredericksburg, Va./Mountain View), to take a three-point advantage (26-23) into the break. W&L shot 2-of-11 (18.2 percent) from long distance in the first 20 minutes. EMU also struggled in the opening stanza at just 37.5 percent (10-28) from the field and 36.4 percent (4-11) from deep.
The Blue and White came out sluggish in the second, and the Royals had doubled their lead (40-34) by the 10:04 mark. W&L responded with six straight points on an old-fashioned three-point play by senior forward J.D. Ey (Charlotte, N.C./Myers Park) and a behind the arc three from first-year forward Andrew Franz (Charlotte, N.C./Ravenscroft). It tied the game at 40 with 7:52 left in the game.
The Royals countered with a 6-0 spurt (46-40), capped on a layup by Daniel with 5:27 on the clock. EMU extended the advantage to eight, 52-44, on a layup by senior wing Andrew Thorne (Front Royal, Va./Skyline) at the 2:09 mark. After the Generals cut it to four, 52-48, with 1:27 left, Eastern Mennonite bounced it back up to eight, 56-48, with 43 ticks on the clock.
In one last attempt at a comeback, Ey sunk a layup, and after a steal and two free throws by Franz, the lead was back down to four (56-52) with 27 second left. Senior forward Owen Longacre (Telford, Pa./Christopher Dock) made two free throws for the Royals, and W&L failed to convert on its ensuing possessions to reach the final margin of 58-52.
Ey finished with 11 points, 12 rebounds, six assists, two steals and a block in his final game. Franz led all players with 17 points, and sophomore forward Patrick O'Connor (Richmond, Va./Douglas Freeman) added nine points off the bench.
W&L struggled from three in the game, finishing 3-of-22 (13.6 percent). EMU shot 46.0 percent (23-50) from the floor and 33.3 percent (4-12) from deep. Daniel led the team with 15 points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals. Thorne and Longacre each added 12.
The loss ended the season for the Generals, while EMU advanced to face top-seeded Virginia Wesleyan on Friday in Salem, Va.
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