GAME FACTS – The Emory men's basketball program opens its 32nd year of intercollegiate competition on Wednesday (Nov. 15) when it hosts Piedmont College.
The Woodruff PE Center campus will serve as the venue of the 14th-ever meeting between the Eagles and Lions and tip is slated for 8:00 pm.
THE COACHES – Jason Zimmerman (Davidson, 1994) starts his 11th 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 171-92. In games played at the Woodruff PE Center, Zimmerman posts a 98-26 ledger and a 73-66 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). The Eagles are the lone D-III school to have won at least one NCAA contest in each of the past five years.
After going 17-33 his first two years at Emory, Zimmerman has compiled a won-lost slate of 154-59 (.725) since the 2009-10 season.
Greg Neeley (Ohio Northern, 2007) enters his fifth year as the head coach at Piedmont College. Heading into the Emory contest, Neeley has a chalked up a school record of 51-52. In five years as a head coach, which includes a one-year stint at Warren Wilson (2012-13), Neeley owns a career mark of 70-62.
2016-17 RECORDS – Emory closed out the 2016-17 season with an overall record of 19-8, the program's eighth consecutive winning season. The Eagles earned an at-large berth to the NCAA D-III Tournament, where they advanced to the Round of 32. Emory was in the Receiving Votes category in the final D3hoops.com Top 25 Poll.
As it approaches the upcoming season, Emory has garnered preseason national recognition, holding down the No. 6 position in the DIII News Poll and the No. 17 slot by D3hoops.com.
Piedmont closed out 2016-17 with a 14-12 record and an 8-6 mark in conference play. Included in the final record was the school's third straight USA South Tournament trip.
The Lions have been picked fourth in the USA South West Division Preseason Coaches' Poll.
SERIES RECORDS – In a series that began in January of 1988, Emory holds a 10-3 all-time mark against Piedmont. The Eagles have won the last two and seven of the last eight encounters against the Lions including last year's 65-59 decision at Piedmont. The Eagles stand 7-1 against the Lions in games played at the Woodruff PE Center. Coach Zimmerman shows a 6-2 slate against Piedmont.
EMORY AND SEASON OPENERS - Emory posts a 21-10 all-time mark in season-opening games, and checks into Wednesday's contest with wins in seven of its last eight season openers. Last year, despite 26 points from Adam Gigax, the Eagles came out on the short end of a 74-70 decision at Covenant College in the opening game of the campaign.
Wednesday's match-up game will represent the second time that Piedmont has been Emory's season-opening foe, with the Eagles claiming a 72-60 triumph on Nov. 13, 2015. Zimmerman stands 7-3 in season-opening games while at Emory.
EMORY AND HOME OPENERS - Emory has enjoyed considerable success its home openers, winning 26 of 31 contests. The Eagles have emerged victorious in their last 13 home openers including last year's 93-72 outcome over Rust College.
GIGAX AND RAPP RETURN AS ALL-UAA PICKS – Seniors Adam Gigax (Mason, OH) and Whitt Rapp (Noblesville, IN) are Emory returnees who garnered All-UAA acclaim last season, with Gigax landing first-team recognition for the second straight season and Rapp honorable mention kudos.
The 6-foot-7 Gigax paced the team in scoring with an 18.3 points-per-game average, second among UAA players and the 10th-highest seasonal effort in school history. A double-figure scorer on 21 occasions last year, he produced 13 performances of 20 or more points. A NABC Second Team All-South District and First Team D3hoops.com All-South Region, his 494 points established a program record for most points by a junior and was the fourth-highest overall total in school annals. Gigax drained 80 three-point field goals, the second-highest mark in Emory history and good for 35th place among D-III players.
Rapp led the UAA and stood third among all D-III players with a school-record 8.5 assists per game average. Logging a team-high 31.9 minutes per outing, he recorded 10 performances of 10 or more assists including a school-record 16, which ranked as the high-water mark by a league player last year and that was one shy of tying the UAA single-game mark, in an 84-75 victory over NYU (Jan. 29, 2017). His 4.1 assist/turnover ratio was third in the D-III ranks, and he closed out 2016-17 with a team-best 50 steals.
EAGLES BATTLE LIPSCOMB IN EXHIBITION – The Eagles played an exhibition game at NCAA Division I member Lipscomb this past Friday and came up short against the Bisons by a deceptive 98-83 margin.
Emory went into halftime tied at 43-43, with the Eagles shooting 56.3 percent (18 of 32) during the opening 20 minutes of action, before battling back from a pair of 10-point second-half deficits to knot the score at 73-73 with 7:56 remaining in the game. However, a 12-0 run over a two-minute stretch by the hosts snapped that deadlock and gave them a lead that it would not surrender.
Two Emory freshmen came off the bench to combine for 35 points, with guard Romin Williams notching 23 points on the strength of eight-of-12 field goal shooting, including four-of-seven from beyond the arc, and front liner Lawrence Rowley totaling a dozen points, sinking four-of-six from the floor and three free throws in four tries. Whitt Rapp dished out nine assists and paced topped the squad with seven boards.
DID YOU KNOW? – That since the 2010-11 season, Emory has the No. 1 record among UAA teams in overall (139-49) play and the second-best mark in league action (68-30) .… Washington University has the conference's second-best overall ledger (134-50) and the top slate in conference play (70-28) … That entering the Piedmont contest, Emory has at least one three-point field goal in its last 517 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 was won 36 of its last 37 games when allowing 69 or fewer points (7-1 in '16-17, 13-0 in '15-16, 16-0 in '14-15) … That Whit Rapp holds down the No. 3 spot on Emory's all-time chart with 462 assists and is No. 2 in assists average (5.6 apg) … Standing in the No. 2 spot on the Eagles' career ladder in assists in Michael Florin (2011-15) with 509 … That Adam Gigax ranks ninth all-time at Emory with 137 three-point field goals, just three shy from tying Alex Foster (2011-15) for the No. 8 position … Gigax has 864 career points, 42 shy of cracking the program's top 20
NOTES -- Since the 2012-13 season, the Eagles are 83-5 when outshooting the opposition from the floor (17-1 in '16-17, 12-3 in '15-16, 18-0 in '14-15) … During Jason Zimmerman's tenure as head coach, Emory stands 137-18 when leading at halftime (13-0 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.