Senior Austin DaGue scored a career-high 22 points, and junior Whit Rapp sank a key three-pointer late in the game that broke a tie in leading the Emory men's basketball team to a big Saturday afternoon home win over the University of Rochester. The Eagles captured their fourth straight contest and closed out the regular season by raising their overall record to 18-7, 9-5 in the University Athletic Association following a 63-62 decision over the No. 10 Yellowjackets who slipped to 21-4, 10-4 in the conference. Prior to the start of the game, Senior Day ceremonies were held, recognizing the contributions of Jonathan Coles, Austin DaGue, Jim Gordon and Jonathan Terry.
DaGue closed out the day converting seven-of-10 field goals and seven-of-11 from the charity stripe in registering his third double-figure scoring performance of the campaign. Senior Jim Gordon added 13 points in the victory while sophomore Gebereal Baitey recorded 10 points, hitting four-of-five from the floor and both of his free throw tries, while also chipping in two steals.
The Eagles trailed by a 43-38 margin with 13:25 left in the contest, before outscoring UR by a 9-3 count, with sophomore Spencer Osborne scoring five points and Baitey four, to take a one-point lead with 10:39 on the clock. However, UR scored eight of the game's next nine points to claim a 54-48 advantage with 8:49 on the clock. A pair of charity tosses by Sam Borst-Smith, who tied DaGue for game honors with 22 points, made the score 58-55 in favor of UR with 5:02 on the clock. Later on, two makes at the stripe by DaGue, one by Gordon and a layup by Baitey, pushed Emory ahead, 60-58 with 2:56 remaining. Borst-Smith would tie the game with two free throws before Rapp nailed a clutch triple from the right wing with 1:26 on the clock, giving Emory the lead for good. A bucket by the Yellowjackets drew them to within one with 55 ticks, but after an Emory miss from the floor, a missed jumper by the Yellowjackets resulted with the ball going out of bounds with their keeping possession. A layup attempt with nine seconds left was blocked by the Eagles' Adam Gigax, with Emory getting the rebound. However, the Eagles couldn't put UR away, misfiring on two free throws with eight seconds on the clock. Rochester had a look on a corner three pointer in the waning moments but missed, giving Emory its 10th home win in 11 outings this year.
Emory closed out the game shooting 36.1 percent (22 of 61) from the floor compared to Rochester's 34.9 percent (22 of 63). Both teams had trouble from long range with the Yellowjackets hitting at just 23.8 percent (5 of 21) while Emory was successful on just four in 23 opportunities. UR finished with a 44-38 advantage in rebounding with Rapp pacing the Eagles in that department with eight boards while also doling out six assists.
Gordon and DaGue provided the bulk of the Emory offense over the first 20 minutes as the Eagles went into the break down by a 31-30 count. Both tallied 12 points with DaGue sinking four-of-six field goals and three-of-four from the stripe, while Gordon was successful on four field goals in eight tries. With Rochester struggling early on to find its shooting eye, hitting just four of its first 20 shot attempts, Emory took a 20-11 lead with 5:18 left. An 8-2 Yellowjacket run, capped by a jumper by Mack Montague, drew the visitors to within three points at 22-19. A bucket by Gebereal Baitey with 1:39 on the clock kept Emory ahead by four points, 28-24, but UR closed out the final 1:18 on a 7-2 spurt to take the one-point lead into the break. Emory shot 40 percent (10 of 25) from the floor compared to UR's 35.5 percent (11 of 31). UR finished with a 22-14 edge on the glass.
Emory will wait until Monday (Feb. 27) as to what may await it in the postseason when the NCAA D-III airs on ncaa.com at 12:30 pm (EST).