CHARLOTTESVILLE — Edinburgh’s shooting woes continued Tuesday night. And so did the Lancers’ losing streak.
The hosts dug an early hole they could never completely climb out of as they dropped a Mid-Hoosier Conference game to Eastern Hancock 59-53.
It was the team’s third-straight loss and fifth in its last six games.
Eastern Hancock led 43-28 with 45 seconds to play in the third quarter and seemed on the verge of blowing out the Lancers. But Riley Price hit two free throws and then, as the buzzer sounded ending the quarter, was fouled while sinking a 3-pointer. He converted the charity and cut the lead to 43-34.
Edinburgh finally began sinking shots that had rimmed out all night and were within one at 47-46 with 5:48 to play after a Kyle Pendleton 3-pointer. The Royals pushed the lead back to seven with 2:34 to play before the final Lancers’ surge.
Trent Tatlock converted inside and Caleb Giles drained a deep three that cut the lead to 55-53 with 1:36 remaining.
But Eastern Hancock junior Isaiah McCormick was perfect on four free-throw attempts in the final minute to put the game away.
Through most of the night, the Royals played a loose man-to-man defense that filled the lane with defenders. Coach Aaron Spaulding said the strategy was to keep the Edinburgh guards from attacking the basket.
“Our game plan was to make them hit jump shots,” he said. “And fortunately, they didn’t shoot it well enough to make us come out to where they could get in the lane and be effective.”
Edinburgh coach Drew Glentzer said the Lancers’ poor outside shooting in the first half — when they hit just one of seven 3-point attempts — played into the Royals’ hands.
“That defense gets softer and softer and softer as the game goes on until you make something,” he said. “Once we start making shots, everything else opens up.”
Price led the Lancers (11-7, 3-3 MHC) with 17 points. Giles and Pendleton each added 15 points. Edinburgh shot 33 percent (17-51) from the field and hit just 13 of 21 free throws.
Senior Cody Wallace led the Royals (6-12, 3-4) with 20 points and 11 rebounds. McCormick scored 19 points. Eastern Hancock hit 20 of 37 shots for the game (54 percent). They were even better in the second half when they hit 11 of 17 shots (65 percent).
McCormick scored nine of his points in the first three minutes of the game when the Royals raced to an early 12-2 lead.
Edinburgh will travel to South Decatur on Friday.