The Emory men's basketball team will be advancing to the NCAA D-III Tournament for the seventh straight year following its Senior Day Saturday win over Rochester that secured the University Athletic Association title and the league's automatic berth to the postseason. The 23rd-ranked Eagles won for the third straight time and boosted their overall record to 20-5, 11-3 in the conference, following a 92-82 verdict over the No. 20-ranked Yellowjackets who fell to 20-5, 10-4 in the conference.
In a battle that would decide the league's outright title, Emory employed a balanced scoring attack that saw six players finish with double-figure scoring as the Eagles registered 90 or more points for the 16th time this year. Sophomore Lawrence Rowley paced the scoring brigade with 19 points, hitting seven-of-10 field goals and five-of-five from the charity stripe in notching his 22nd double-digit effort of the season. Sophomores Nick Stuck and Matt Schner each contributed 15 points in the win, with Schner sinking five-of-seven field goal opportunities and Stuck dishing out six assists. Matt Davet and Romin Williams chipped in 13 and 12 points, respectively, while senior Gebereal Baitey rounded out the group with 11 points.
After going into the locker room at halftime with a 40-32 lead, the second half developed into a back-and-forth affair that saw a total of 10 lead changes. The Yellowjackets held a 69-68 advantage with 7:19 on the clock, but the Eagles rallied and took control of the game with a 13-1 burst over a 4:17 stretch that pushed it to an 84-72 cushion with 3:02 remaining. Emory went six-of-seven from the field during the run that saw both Baitey and Stuck score four points while Davet knocked down a triple and Rowley came through with a three-point play.
Emory closed out the contest hitting 48.3 percent (29-of-60) from the field compared to UR's 45.2 percent (33-of-73). The Eagles were successful on 38.9 percent (7-of-18) from beyond the arc while the Yellowjackets converted 26.3 percent (5-of-19). Emory made the most of its trips to the charity stripe, hitting 27-of-33 (81.8%), its seventh outing of 80 percent or higher this season, while Rochester sank 11-of-16.
The Eagles led by a 20-17 count with 8:38 left in the first half before going on a 12-4 spurt, ignited by a Schner three-pointer and further fueled by Rowley's four points, to claim its biggest lead of the stanza, 32-21 with 5:03 remaining. The Yellowjackets battled back to within three with 1:52 on the clock, but a jumper by Baitey followed by a three-pointer by Stuck gave the Eagles the eight-point edge at the break. Schner totaled a team-high 13 first-half points while Davet scored seven. UR senior Ryan Clammage, who would go on to lead all players with 25 points, put up 14 during the opening 20 minutes.
Prior to the game, the Eagles conducted Senior Day ceremonies for Gebereal Baitey, Beau Bommarito, Joey Katz and Spencer Osborne.
Emory's 20 wins represents the seventh time in school history and sixth in the past nine campaigns it has reached that mark.
With the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament firmly tucked away, the Eagles will find out their opponent and location for the opening rounds on Monday, Feb. 25, at 12:30 pm. The selections can be viewed on ncaa.com.
Emory Men's Basketball Senior Day -- It's a great day to be an Eagle!!