Emory Men's Basketball Falls Short In Exhibtion vs. Mercer
The Emory men's basketball team battled Division I foe Mercer University on even terms for the majority of the contest on Saturday but a late spurt by the host Bears gave them a 66-57 victory over the Eagles. The game went in the books as an exhibition affair for Emory while it was the regular-season opener for Mercer.
Senior guard Austin Claunch topped the Emory scoring attack with 13 points while also grabbing a team-leading six rebounds. Claunch also dished out three assists and came up with four steals in 39 minutes of action. Sophomore forward Jake Davis was next on Emory's scoring list with 12 points, sinking five-of-nine from the field, while junior Alex Greven rounded out the team's double-figure scorers with 11 points.
Mercer, playing before an enthusiastic Homecoming crowd of 3,182, hit on 45.6 percent of its field goal attempts (26-of-57) compared to Emory's 31.2 percent (20-of-64). Neither team shot well from three-point range with the Eagles at 24.0 percent (6-of-25) and the Bears with an 11.8 percent effort (2-of-17). Mercer finished with a 44-30 edge on the glass but turned the ball over on 17 occasions compared to Emory's 11 miscues.
Emory trailed early in the first half by a 10-5 margin before rattling off a 13-4 run, led by four points apiece by Claunch and junior Michael Friedberg to take an 18-14 lead with 11:50 left in the stanza. However, the Bears responded with an 11-0 burst to go up by a 25-18 count with 7:19 left in the half. A three-point field goal by senior Alex Gulotta drew Emory to within two with 5:20 on the clock but Mercer closed out the half on a 9-2 run to take a 36-27 lead at halftime.
Mercer built a 12-point cushion early in the second half but a 14-4 Emory charge, keyed by senior Justin Resnick's five points, slashed Mercer's lead to 43-41. Emory stayed within striking distance and when Claunch sank a pair of charity tosses with 2:48 left in the game, Emory faced just a one-point obstacle at 55-54. However, a triple by Mercer's Bud Thomas started a 6-0 run that pushed its advantage to 61-54 with 1:32 remaining. A another free throw by Claunch cut the deficit to five with 1:23 on the clock but that would be as close as the Eagles would get the remainder of the contest.
Emory opens its regular season on Friday (Nov. 18) against Ferrum College in Roanoke, Va.