LEXINGTON, Va. — The Washington and Lee men's basketball team registered a season-high 23 assists on its way to a 97-82 victory over Eastern Mennonite on Wednesday to remain perfect in ODAC play.
Senior forward Clayton Murtha (Dallas, Texas/Highland Park) paced the offense with a season-high 30 points and nine rebounds, and junior guard Devin Kearns (Cibolo, Texas/Samuel Clemens) totaled a season-high 22 points and eight assists.
The Generals (10-4, 5-0 ODAC) led by two (35-33) with 5:19 left in the first half, and then each team went scoreless over the next three minutes of game action.
A jumper by junior forward Roy McMillan (Raleigh, N.C./Broughton) ended the dry spell, and ignited a 13-5 run in the final two minutes of the period to push the W&L lead to 48-38 at intermission.
The Royals (5-8, 0-5 ODAC) quickly cut the deficit to six (48-42) in the first minute of the second half, but back-to-back layups by Murtha and a layup by McMillan stretched the advantage back to double digits, 54-42, for the Generals by the 18:02 mark.
Just a little over a minute later, a fast-break bucket by senior forward Nicholas George (Charleston, W.Va./Charleston Catholic) gave the Blue and White a 15-point lead (58-43). The margin was still 15, 62-47, with 15:34 on the clock, but then a 12-2 spurt by EMU, capped on a three-pointer by senior wing Isaiah Harris-Winn, trimmed the gap to five (64-59) with 11:44 to go in the game.
The teams traded baskets over the next three minutes with the Blue and White holding a five-point edge, 73-68, with 8:15 remaining in the contest. From there, Kearns dropped in a layup and then Murtha followed with one of his own to extend the advantage to nine (77-69) with 7:13 on the clock.
Following a made free throw by the Royals, first-year forward Curtis Mitchell (Chevy Chase, Md./Georgetown Prep) converted a layup to give W&L a 10-point lead, 79-69, at the 6:57 mark.
Harris-Winn went to the line on EMU's next possession, making both free throws, but Murtha answered with a bucket to regain a 10-point spread (81-71) for the Generals with 6:30 on the clock. W&L's lead would not fall below double-digits the rest of the contest, as the Blue and White secured the 15-point victory.
The Generals shot 48.0 percent (36-of-75) from the field, but struggled at the free throw line, making 14-of-25 attempts (56.0 percent). W&L made 11-of-32 (34.4 percent) three-pointers to extend its school-record streak of consecutive games of at least 10 made triples to six contests.
The Royals connected on just 28-of-69 attempts (40.6 percent) from the floor and shot 6-of-25 (24.0 percent) from downtown.
Murtha finished 12-of-17 from the field to register his 30 points. McMillan shot 6-of-8 to total 18 points, to go with five rebounds.
Harris-Winn notched 18 points and 14 rebounds to lead EMU. Junior center Sammy Thomas recorded 17 points on a perfect 7-of-7 from the floor.
The 23 assists by W&L are the most for the team since it had 24 during the 2014-15 season. The 5-0 mark in the ODAC is the best start for the Blue and White since the team started the 1988-89 season 6-0 in league play.
The Generals play one of the three remaining undefeated teams in the conference on Saturday, when they travel to Randolph-Macon for a 2:00 pm contest.
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