The Emory men's basketball team saw its season come to an end Saturday evening as it came out on the short end of a NCAA D-III Second Round Game at Hardin-Simmons University. The Cowboys earned the right to advance to the Round of 16 and raised their overall record to 24-6 following a 95-85 verdict over the Eagles who finished with a won-lost ledger of 19-8.
Senior Austin DaGue totaled team highs with 21 points and 10 rebounds in his final collegiate contest. DaGue converted seven-of-12 field goals, including three-of-six from three-point range, and four free throws in six opportunities in registering his fifth double-figure scoring performance of the season and his second-highest career total. Senior Jim Gordon tallied 20 points while sophomore Gebereal Baitey rounded out the double-digit scorers with a career-high 17 points, hitting four-of-six from the floor and eight free throws.
Emory ended the night hitting 39.5 percent (30 of 70) from the floor, but just 21.2 percent (7 of 33) from three-point range, with that mark the team's second-lowest showing of the campaign. HSU was successful on 47.3 percent (26 of 55) of its field goal attempts, including 42.9 percent (9 of 21) from beyond the arc.
Trailing by nine at the break, buckets by DaGue and junior Adam Gigax drew Emory to within five points. The Cowboys eventually increased their lead to 11 points, 56-45, but a three-point play by Gordon sliced Emory's deficit to seven points, 59-52 with 13:01 left in the contest. However, a big 10-1 HSU run that saw Nathaniel Jack score the first five points and Dashun Dixon close it out with a three pointer, extended the Cowboys' cushion to 69-53 with 10:27 remaining. Jack paced all players with 26 points and 15 rebounds. Emory faced a 17-point roadblock with 7:25 left, but mounted a comeback as Gordon accounted for seven points during a 12-2 blitz that cut the deficit to 77-70 with 4:16 left. But that would be as close as the Eagles would get as HSU scored eight consecutive points to claim a 85-70 lead with 2:27 remaining.
With DaGue scoring nine of Emory's opening 17 points, the Eagles faced a two-point deficit before a jumper by HSU's Christian O'Neal, followed by a three pointer by Caleb Spoon, pushed the host squad to a 24-17 lead with 10:48 left in the opening half. With DaGue and Chris Avant knocking down three pointers, the Eagles cut the gap to two points. However, the Cowboys went on a 16-5 surge over a 4:20 stretch, capped by back-to-back triples by Dixon and Christian O'Neal, to bolt to a 41-28 edge with 4:23 remaining. The Eagles answered with six unanswered points, four by Gordon, draw to within seven with 2:49 on the clock. Emory trailed by a 45-40 count with 41 ticks but a halfcourt shot at the buzzer y O'Neal enabled HSU to take a 50-41 lead into halftime. The Cowboys shot 51.6 percent (16 of 31) from floor, including 46.7 percent (7 of 15) from beyond the arc, compared to Emory's effort of 46.9 percent (15 of 32) from the field, 25 percent (4 of 16) from three-point range. DaGue had 15 points to lead Emory while Gordon added 10 points.
In addition to DaGue and Gordon, seniors Jonathan Terry and Jonathan Coles also made their final appearances as members of the Emory program