GAME FACTS – The Emory men's basketball program will be one of 64 teams vying for the 2017 NCAA Division III national title, and will head to Abilene, Texas, and the home of Hardin-Simmons University for first and second rounds of the postseason.
Action takes place on Friday and Saturday (Mar. 3-4) at the Mabee Gym Complex on the HSU campus. The Eagles' opening-round foe will be Texas Lutheran in a 5:30 pm tip (CST). Following that contest, Hardin-Simmons will match-up with LaGrange College in a scheduled 7:30 pm start. The winners advance to Saturday's second round with that game beginning at 7:00 pm.
THE COACHES – Jason Zimmerman (Davidson, 1994) is in his 10th year of patrolling the Emory sideline. Named head coach in April of 2007, Zimmerman came to Emory after serving as an assistant coach at the University of Evansville (2003-04 through 2006-07). Prior to his stint with the Aces, Zimmerman was an assistant at Davidson College for seven years (1996-97 through 2002-03). During his tenure with the Eagles, he ranks as the program's winningest coach, compiling a school and career record of 170-91. In games played at the Woodruff PE Center, Zimmerman posts a 98-26 ledger and a 72-65 mark in road/neutral settings.
He has guided Emory to eight straight winning seasons and five consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017), which includes three straight trips to the Round of 16, the only current D-III program that can claim that distinction. After going 17-33 his first two years at Emory, Zimmerman has compiled a won-lost slate of 153-58 (.725) since the 2009-10 season. He is 7-4 in NCAA Tournament games
Mike Wacker (Texas, '85) is in his first year as the head coach at Texas Lutheran. Prior to his current post, Wacker served as the head coach at Converse Judson High School for 26 years where he won over 700 games to go along with a .782 winning percentage. He compiled 26 straight winning campaigns and captured 13 district championships.
In his sixth season calling the shots at LaGrange College is Kendal Wallace. During his stint with the Panthers, he has chalked up a school and career won-lost ledger of 97-69. He has led the program to three consecutive USA South Tournament championships and four NCAA Tournament appearances.
Now in his ninth year as the head coach at Hardin-Simmons, Mike Carse heads into the post season with a school record of 150-95. In 26 campaigns as a head coach, Carse owns a career mark of 440-285.
2016-17 RECORDS – Emory closed out the regular season with an overall record of 18-7 and finished with a 9-5 effort in the University Athletic Association, good for third place. The Eagles finished on a strong note by winning their final four games including a 63-62 Senior Day decision at home over No. 10 Rochester this past Saturday.
Senior Austin DaGue spearheaded the Emory scoring attack vs. UR with a career-high 22 points, converting seven-of-10 field goal attempts and seven free throws in 11 tries en route to his third double-figure scoring outing of the year. Senior Jim Gordon chipped in 13 points while sophomore Gebereal Baitey rounded out the double-figure scorers with 10 points.
Emory is 10-1 at home and 8-6 in road/neutral venues this year.
Texas Lutheran will meet Emory with an overall record of 19-9. The Bulldogs earned their third consecutive berth to the postseason following a championship drive in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) Tournament, defeating Schreiner University, 83-70, in the title contest.
LaGrange stands 18-10 in overall action and punched its fourth straight ticket to the NCAA Tournament this past weekend after bringing home the USA South Tournament title for the third straight season. The Panthers defeated William Peace and host Averett University in their first two games before shutting down Methodist, 75-56, in the championship contest.
Hardin-Simmons earned an automatic berth to the postseason for the second consecutive year following its first-place showing at the American Southwest Conference Tournament. The Cowboys stand 22-6 overall after winning three games at the tournament, including a 104-92 shootout against LeTourneu in the championship encounter.
SERIES RECORDS – The Emory-Texas Lutheran bout will represent the first-ever meeting in basketball between the two programs.
In a series that has its origins in January of 2001, Emory holds a 19-6 edge in the all-time series with LaGrange, though the Panthers have won the last two encounters, including a 95-84 decision earlier this year (Nov. 26) at the Oglethorpe Thanksgiving Tournament.
If Emory and Hardin-Simmons meet, it will mark the first time they have battled on the hardwood.
EMORY NCAA TOURNAMENT HISTORY (9-5)
Mar. 3, 1990 – Emory 91, Emory & Henry 81 (H)
Mar. 9, 1990 – Calvin 80, Emory 73 (N)
Mar. 10, 1990 – Emory 102, Averett 93 (A)
Mar. 2, 2013 – Emory 77, Randolph 56 (H)
Mar. 9, 2013- Whitworth 86, Emory 67 (A)
Mar. 8, 2014 – Emory 72, Centre 62 (H)
Mar. 14, 2014 – Emory 76, UW-Stevens Point 73 (ot) (A)
Mar. 15, 2014 – UW-Whitewater 74, Emory 51 (N)
Mar. 6, 2015 – Emory 88, Spalding 59 (H)
Mar. 7, 2015 – Emory 85, Whitworth 84 (H)
Mar. 13, 2015 – UW-Stevens Point, 73, Emory 53 (A)
Mar. 4, 2016 – Emory 76, Covenant College 51 (H)
Mar. 5, 2016 – Emory 84, Birmingham Southern 78 (ot) (H)
Mar. 11, 2016 – Augustana 88, Emory 65 (A)
RAPP AMONG D-III LEADER IN ASSISTS – Junior Whit Rapp heads into NCAA Tournament play as the UAA leader in assists with an 8.5 per-game average, with that mark good for the No. 3 position among all D-III players and first on the school's seasonal ladder.
Rapp's six assists in the Rochester game added to his school season record. Entering the TLU contest, Rapp has 213 assists, bettering the previous standard of 186 set by Austin Claunch during the 2010-11 campaign.
The Noblesville, Indiana, native has chalked up 10 outings of double-figure assists this season (15 in his career), most recently at Chicago (Feb. 12) when he doled out 11 in a 99-88 triumph. In conference affairs, Rapp finished atop the league ladder with an 8.3 assists-per-game average. In addition, Rapp stands second in the league and fifth nationally (through Feb. 26) in assist/turnover ratio (3.87). He has recorded 17 games of seven or more assists this year.
In Emory's home game vs. NYU (Jan. 29), he set the program's single-game record with 16 assists in an 84-75 win, surpassing the previous standard of 14 held by Michael Florin (vs. NYU, Feb. 1, 2015).
Career-wise, Rapp holds down the No. 3 position on the school's all-time chart with 445 assists. Claunch claims the No. 1 spot with 580 while Florin (2011-15) is second at 509.
STATS TO WATCH – Often times there are statistics that could play a role in determining if a team is successful or not, and in Emory's case the variables of field goal shooting and rebounding are worth keeping track of. Emory holds a 16-1 record when outshooting the opposition from the floor, with its lone defeat in such games taking place at New York University (Feb. 5) when it connected on 47.1 percent (33 of 70) of its field goal attempts compared to NYU's 45.8 percent (27 of 59).
In addition to field goal shooting, the Eagles sport a 12-1 mark when finishing with an edge in rebounding. Emory has won its last 11 when posting more boards than the opposition with the only loss coming to LaGrange (46 vs. 39 rebs). In games when it has been outboarded, Emory is 5-5.
Top Scoring Halves By Emory Players In 2016-17
24 points – Adam Gigax, vs. Berry (2nd half), Dec. 29
23 points – Adam Gigax vs. Brandeis (2nd half), Jan. 27
21 points – Jim Gordon vs. Carnegie Mellon (2nd half), Feb. 19
20 points – Adam Gigax vs. Case Western Reserve (2nd half), Feb. 17
20 points – Adam Gigax vs. Chicago (1st half), Feb. 12
20 points – Adam Gigax vs. Case Western Reserve (2nd half), Jan. 20
20 points – Adam Gigax vs. Oglethorpe (1st half), Jan. 2
19 points – Adam Gigax vs. Covenant College (2nd half), Nov. 15
18 points – Jim Gordon vs. Covenant College (2nd half), Nov. 15
17 points – Jim Gordon vs. Rust College (1st half), Dec. 6
16 points – Adam Gigax vs. Rust College (1st half), Dec. 6
DID YOU KNOW? – That Adam Gigax's 469 points is a school record for most points scored by a junior, topping the previous mark of 454 held by Jake Davis (2012-13) … Gigax's point total this year is seventh on the program's seasonal ladder … That Gigax and Jim Gordon have scored 20 or more points in the same game on three occasions this season … Jim Gordon's 18-game streak of recording three-point field goals ties the school's 11th-longest mark … That since the 2010-11 season, Emory has the No. 1 record among UAA teams in overall (138-48) play and the second-best mark in league action (68-30) .… Washington University has the conference's second-best overall ledger (133-49) and the top slate in conference play (70-28) … That entering the Texas Lutheran contest, Emory has at least one three-point field goal in its last 515 games -- The last time the Eagles failed to convert from beyond the arc came on Feb. 14, 1997, vs. Washington University (0-of-6) … Emory has won its last 35 games when allowing 69 or fewer points (5-0 in '16-17, 13-0 in '15-16) … That Austin DaGue's career mark of 126 blocked shots is No. 4 on the school's all-time ladder … Emory has two current players among the program's all-time top 20 in three-point field goals, Adam Gigax is tied for the No. 9 spot (133) while Jonathan Terry ranks 19th (114).
GIGAX TOPS UAA SCORING CHART – Despite finishing with two points in the Rochester game, Adam Gigax still maintains his hold on the top spot on the UAA overall scoring ladder with an 18.8 points-per-game average, good for a seventh-place tie on the school's seasonal list.
Named to the All-UAA First Team for the second straight season, Gigax has recorded 20 double-figure scoring games, including 12 with 20 or more points. The Eagles' leading scorer on 13 occasions this year, he has knocked down a team-high 76 three-point field goals, the third-highest total in program history. He has three pointers to his credit is 22 outings (20 games with two or more and 13 with three or more) and his 40.2 percent (76 of 189) mark from beyond the arc is third on the UAA chart and slots him 66th nationally. He has been solid at the free throw line as well, knocking down a team-high 84.1 percent (69 of 82) of his attempts, with that effort placing second in the league. An explosive scorer, Gigax has posted seven halves of 20 or more points this season.
He finished the 14-game conference schedule in the No. 2 slot in scoring average (18.4 ppg), and fourth in three-point percentage (.373, 38 of 102).
Career-wise, he has rang up 43 double-figure scoring contests, 17 of 20 or more points … He cracked the 100 career three-point plateau in the Wash U game (Jan. 13) and heads into the upcoming weekend with 133 triples during his career, placing him in a tie for ninth all-time at Emory.
EMORY SEASONAL THREE-POINTER LEADERS
1. 91 - Jeff Hall - 2004-05
2. 78 – Robert Spivey – 2000-01
3. 76 – Adam Gigax – 2016-17
4. 71 - Alex Gulotta - 2010-11
71 - Alex Foster - 2014-15
6. 67 - Alex Greven - 2012-13
7. 65 - Michael Thompson - 1998-99
GORDON EARNS UAA RECOGNITION – Jim Gordon's contributions to the success of this year's team was recognized by the conference coaches with his selection to the All-UAA Second Team.
Gordon stands second on the squad and is tied for seventh among UAA players in scoring with an average of 15.6 points per game. He is 11th on the conference ladder in field goal percentage (.429, 139 of 324) and eighth in three-point field goals per game (2.2 tpg).
On the year, Gordon has produced a team-high 23 double-digit scoring performances, five of which have seen him pick up 20 or more points.
Gordon has three-point field goals in a team-high 24 contests and has drained two or more from distance on 17 occasions. In the free throw shooting department, he has been successful on 70 percent (56 of 80) of his attempts.
He was tabbed as the UAA Player of the Week (Feb. 20) for the first time in his career after averaging 27.5 points and 7.0 rebounds in victories against Case Western (Feb. 17) and Carnegie Mellon (Feb. 19). The 6-foot-5 Gordon topped the Eagles' scoring effort in both outings and concluded the weekend shooting 59.3 percent (16 of 27) from the floor, including 53.3 percent (8 of 15) from beyond the arc.
In league play, Gordon tossed in 16.8 points per outing, tying for fifth on the UAA ladder. He ranked eighth in field goal percentage (.425, 85 of 200) and tied for seventh in three pointers per game (2.4 tpg).
CHRISTOPHER AVANT SCORING AND BOARDING – Christopher Avant's emergence in the scoring and rebounding departments has been a big plus for the Eagles this season.
Avant, the owner of four double-doubles this year, posted his 15th double-digit scoring performance of the campaign when he finished second on the club in scoring with 18 points against Carnegie Mellon (Feb. 19), converting seven-of-12 from the floor and all four of his free throw attempts.
Avant is third on the squad and 16th among UAA players with a 12.1 points-per-game overall scoring average. He has connected on 58.7 percent (108 of 184) of his field goal attempts, first on the team and third among UAA players. He has paced the squad in scoring in four contests. In league outings, he finished third on the squad and 21st among UAA players in scoring average (11.7 ppg).
When it comes to his play on the glass, his team-high average of 6.7 boards per game is ninth on the league ladder. He has either led or shared for team rebounding honors in 10 games this year, and his 70 offensive boards tops the club while his average of 2.9 per game at the end of the floor is No. 6 in the conference. He has nine performances of four or more offensive caroms this year.
BAITEY PRODUCTIVE OFF THE BENCH -- Gebereal Baitey continued his surge during the second half of the season in last Saturday's win vs. Rochester, coming off the bench to pace all reserves in scoring with 10 points, hitting four-of-five field goal attempts and both of his free throws. In addition, he recorded a pair of steals during his 27 minutes of action.
Baitey has produced double-figure scoring in his last four and in five of the past six games. In his last six outings, he is averaging 11.2 points and shooting 58.1 percent (25 of 43) from the field.
NOTES – While Whit Rapp ranks among the nation's leaders in assists and assist/turnover ratio, he ranks fourth on the team in scoring (7.4 ppg), with seven double-figure scoring games to his credit … In addition, Rapp is second on the squad and 16th among the UAA in rebounding with a 4.9 per-game average … His career-high tying eight boards against Rochester last Saturday represented the fifth time this season that he ranked as the Eagles' top rebounder … Gebereal Baitey enters the Texas Lutheran game with 14 consecutive makes from the free throw line, dating from the second half of the Washington University game (Feb. 10) … Baitey also has made his mark on the defensive end of the floor with steals in his last seven outings … During its four-game win streak, Emory is averaging 87.2 points and shooting 46.7 percent (112 of 240) from the field while allowing 78.8 points and 39.8 percent (109 of 274) from the field … Emory's 13 steals in the Rochester game represented its sixth outing of double figures in that category … Austin DaGue's 22-point afternoon against Rochester was his 21st career double-figure performance … Emory has won all three of its overtime games this year and its last four dating from last season's extra session win vs. Birmingham Southern in the NCAA Tournament … The Eagles' 41 makes from the foul line in the Case Western game (Feb. 17) established a school record, bettering the previous mark of 38 set against Babson on Dec. 30, 2004 … Emory has four single-digit turnover games this year … Emory is shooting 81.9 percent (95 of 116) from the charity stripe in its last four games … The Eagles have scored 50 or more points in a half on six occasions, five of which have come in the second half … Emory is No. 2 in the UAA in overall free throw shooting (.735, 391 of 532) and finished the league in the No. 2 position (.769, 237 of 308) … The Eagles are 10-3 this season when shooting 70 percent or better from the charity stripe … Emory's rally from a 17-point deficit with 10:41 left in the Brandeis game (Jan. 27) and eventual win in overtime marked the Eagles' biggest second-half comeback during Jason Zimmerman's tenure as head coach – back on Nov. 17, 2010, Emory faced a pair of 15-point obstacles in the second half in an eventual 92-84 overtime decision over Oglethorpe … Whit Rapp paces the club with 46 steals (tying for 20th place on the school's seasonal chart) and his per-game average of 1.8 thefts is third among UAA players … Rapp has steals in 15 of his last 18 contests and has registered multiple thefts on 14 occasions this season …The Eagles have shot 50 percent or better from the floor in five games (5-0) ... Emory has hit 10 or more three pointers in 11 games this year and stand 9-2 in those contests, 29-6 since the 2014-15 campaign … Emory is fourth in the UAA and 60th nationally in three pointers per game (9.1 tpg) … In its 18 victories, Emory is averaging 85.3 points and shooting 45.8 percent from the floor compared to 67.7 points and 37.8 percent field goal shooting its seven losses … Emory is No. 3 in the UAA in overall (80.4 ppg) and finished 4th in conference (79.4 ppg) scoring offense … Defensively, the Eagles have held nine foes to less than 40 percent from the floor (8-1 in those contests) and reside in the No. 2 spot in the conference and 54th nationally in field goal percentage defense (41.1%) … Since the 2012-13 season, the Eagles are 82-5 when outshooting the opposition from the floor (16-1 in '16-17, 12-3 in '15-16, 18-0 in '14-15) … During Jason Zimmerman's tenure as head coach, Emory stands 136-18 when leading at halftime (12-0 in '16-17; 18-3 in 2015-16) … Emory is 80-10 (.889) over its last 90 home contests … The Eagles have recorded 100 or more points 46 times in program history and own a 41-5 won-lost record in those affairs … During Jason Zimmerman's tenure as head coach, Emory has 15 contests of 100 or more points and stands 14-1 in such games … Emory has averaged 36.3 points in the first half and 42.2 over the final 20 minutes of action … The opposition is averaging 35.3 points during the opening 20 minutes of action and 39.2 in the second half.