Claunch's 23 Points Sparks No. 5 Emory Men's Basketball Team To Win At Piedmont
Emory senior Austin Claunch scored a game-high 23 points and junior Michael Friedberg added 17 points Tuesday evening in leading the No. 5-ranked Eagles basketball squad to a win at Piedmont College. Emory upped its overall record to 11-0 following a 95-78 decision over the Lions who slipped to 2-9 on the year.
Claunch notched his second straight and fifth 20-point effort of the year after sinking seven-of-11 from the floor, including two-of-four from three-point range, and seven out of eight free throw attempts. In addition, he doled out five assists, had no turnovers in 31 minutes and came up with four steals, his sixth multiple-theft game of the season.
Friedberg, named the University Athletic Association Player of the Week earlier in the day, was successful on eight field tries in 12 attempts and continued to disrupt opponent shot attempts with four blocked shots, his sixth straight performance of two or more rejections.
Rounding out the team's double-figure scorers was sophomore Jake Davis with 15 points and 12 rebounds, his third double-double of the year.
The Eagles ended the evening shooting 44.0 percent (33-of-75) from the floor compared to Piedmont's 36.2 percent (25-of-69). Emory connected on nine-of-28 from beyond the arc and was led in that department by senior Alex Gulotta's three triples. The Lions countered with eight treys in 26 attempts. Piedmont finished with a slight 47-45 edge on the glass but turned the ball over 21 times compared to Emory's nine miscues.
After building an 11-point cushion at halftime, the Eagles upped their advantage to 16 points, 58-42, with 18:48 left in the game following a bucket by Davis. Piedmont did scrap back to within 61-52 with 16:04 left and trailed faced an 11-point deficit with 12:38 on the clock before the Eagles sealed the outcome with an 18-3 blitz over a 6:30 span that saw seven different players score.
Both teams got out of the blocks quickly during the opening 20 minutes of action with Emory hitting six of its first nine from the floor and Piedmont seven-of-12 as the Lions edged out to a 16-15 advantage with 15:05 left in the half. The Eagles then mounted an 11-2 charge over a 3:24 span to bolt out to a 26-18 lead. Claunch and Friedberg each scored four points in that stretch while Davis accounted for the other three points. Piedmont crept back to within four points, 32-28, with 7:13 remaining following a triple by Mike Ross, but the Eagles closed out the stanza on 17-10 run to go into halftime with a 49-38 advantage. The trio of Claunch, Friedberg and Davis picked up 38 points with Claunch totaling 17, sinking five-of-eight from the field, including both three-point field goal attempts, and five-of-six from the line. Friedberg knocked down six-of-nine from the floor en route to his point total while Davis hit a pair of field goals along with all five of his charity tosses. Davis also grabbed 10 boards in the first half. Emory hit 45.7 percent (16-of-35) from the field and made the most of its free throw attempts, draining 14-of-15 opportunities.
Tonight's game against Piedmont represented Emory's final non-conference contest of the regular season. The Eagles open UAA play on Saturday, Jan. 7, at home against defending league champion Rochester in a 4:00 p.m. start.