Emory Men's Basketball Tops No. 14 Rochester -- States Case For NCAA Tourney Bid
Junior Austin Claunch led four double-figure scorers with 24
points in sparking the Emory men’s basketball team to a win
over No. 14 Rochester on Saturday. The Eagles raised their
overall record to 20-5, 11-3 in the University Athletic
Association, with a regular-season ending 83-72 triumph over the
Yellowjackets who fell to 20-5, 12-2 in the conference.
Emory’s win total marks the program’s first 20-win
campaign since 1989-90 when that club fashioned a ledger of
With a potential NCAA Tournament berth hanging in the balance, Claunch played a masterful floor game. In addition to chalking up his 22nd double-figure scoring performance of the season, and sixth of 20 or more points, he doled out nine assists and contributed four steals. He sank nine-of-13 from the field, including both of his three-point field goal attempts, and went four-of-four from the charity stripe. Claunch had plenty of help as the Eagles raised their home record to 13-1, with sophomore Michael Friedberg totaling 14 points along with a game-high tying eight rebounds and junior Alex Gulotta chipping in 14 points. Senior Julien Williams, playing in his final regular-season contest at the Woodruff PE Center rounded out the team’s double-digit scorers with 11 points.
Though the Yellowjackets shot 50 percent from the floor (30-of-60) to Emory’s 45.2 percent (28-of-62), the Eagles enjoyed an advantage in three-point shooting, knocking down 40.9 percent (9-of-22) of their triple tries while Rochester converted just 29.4 percent (5-of-17). Emory made the most of its attempts at the charity stripe, hitting 18-of-20 and also finished with a 36-33 edge in rebounding.
Emory never trailed to the game to the league champs, snapping a 17-17 deadlock with 11:01 left in the first half with an 18-7 spurt, capped by a three-point field goal by junior Justin Resnick, that gave it a 35-24 edge with 4:50 left in the stanza. The Eagles saw five players score during that run with Friedberg totaling seven points and Claunch four. Rochester battled back to within three points after a three-point play by Nate Vernon with 27 seconds left but a bucket by sophomore Alex Greven with three ticks left on the clock gave the home team a 45-40 edge at intermission. Both Claunch and Friedberg scored 10 points in the opening stanza with each sinking two triples. Rochester managed to shot 59.3 percent (16-of-27) from the floor in the first half to Emory’s 50 percent (17-of-34) but the Eagles were opportunistic from distance, knocking down seven-of-14 from beyond the arc.
Emory gradually pulled away from Rochester in the second half, using a 20-9 sprint over an 8:19 span that extended a 49-44 lead to 69-53, its biggest margin of the contest, with 7:41 remaining. Williams and Claunch played big roles in that stretch with nine and six points, respectively. From there, Rochester would get as close as nine points on three occasions, the last time with 35 seconds left. Leading the Yellowjackets in scoring was Chris Dende with a game-high 29 points.
Emory will hear as to its NCAA hopes on Monday (Feb. 28) when the selections are announced to the 61-team NCAA Division III Tournament. The field will be presented via webcast on www.ncaa.com beginning at 1:00 p.m. Eastern time.