Junior guard Gebereal Baitey drives the lane in the Eagles’ second round match. Parth Mody/Photo Editor

The Emory men’s basketball team advanced to the Sweet 16 after the Eagles stomped Berry College (Ga.) 91-72 on March 2 and narrowly escaped LeTourneau University (Texas) 83-82 on March 3 during the opening two rounds of the NCAA Division III Tournament hosted at the Woodruff P.E. Center.

The Eagles held their first matchup against the Berry Vikings in a game largely determined by a massive second-half run.

Freshman guard Romin Williams achieved a game-high 25 points on eight-of-16 shooting, which led a quartet of Eagles in double-figure scoring. Senior forward Christopher Avant contributed 16 points and a team-high six rebounds, while senior guard Whit Rapp added 14 points and eight assists that night. Junior guard Gebereal Baitey rounded out the group with 12 points.

From the onset, the Eagles established themselves offensively and led the entire first half.

Leading 24-19 with 9 minutes and 56 seconds remaining in the first, the Eagles went on a 13-4 run. Following a pair of converted free throws, the Eagles scored through an Avant jumper, a Rapp layup and a three by senior forward Adam Gigax, bringing their advantage to 37-23.

In the second half, the Vikings claimed their first lead six minutes in. With 14 minutes and 20 seconds remaining, a jumper by junior forward Elijah Hirsh gave the Vikings a 54-53 advantage.

But that was the only lead the Vikings held for the rest of the match.

The Eagles embarked on a blistering 32-10 run that left the Vikings helpless, trailing 85-64 with 2 minutes and 53 seconds remaining. The Eagles’ defensive pressure and forced turnovers largely accounted for the Emory’s’ sudden offensive onslaught. In the second half, the Vikings endured 11 turnovers in addition to their 10 from the first period. The Eagles, on the other hand, garnered 11 total.

“Our game against Berry was a fight,” Rapp said. “They’re an aggressive team and brought an incredible crowd with them as well. The atmosphere inside the WoodPEC was the best it has been in my four years here at Emory.”

Rapp added that the team used the crowd’s energy and channeled it into a successful run late in the second half.

Freshman guard Romin Williams engages in a struggle for the ball against a Berry College (Ga.) defender at the WoodPEC March 2. Williams led both teams with 25 points. Parth Mody/Photo Editor

The Eagles’ second-round matchup against the LeTourneau Yellowjackets proved a stiffer challenge that was decided in the final minute.

Avant led five double-digit scorers with a season-high 22 points on 9-of-17 shooting, including the biggest layup of the game. Baitey posted 15 points on 7-of-11 field goals, while Gigax contributed 14 points. Williams and junior guard Beau Bommarito added 11 and 10, respectively. Rapp added to his growing assist record by dishing out 13 dimes.

“As far as my 22-point performance versus LeTourneau, I’m not ready to be done playing this game,” Avant said of his senior season. “I’m having too much fun right now and love playing with this group of guys. We are playing our best basketball right now and look to continue to get better going into the weekend.”

Continuing their offensive prowess from the night before, the Eagles led for much of the first half.

In the opening frame, Emory led by as much as 15 points, thanks in large part to duo of Baitey and Avant scoring 11 points each.

Emory Head Coach Jason Zimmerman gets vocal on the court. Zimmerman discussed the NCAA tournament in the March 4 edition of Hoopsville. Parth Mody/Photo Editor

With a 46-37 lead at the start of the second, the Eagles held a marginal advantage throughout much of the rest of the game. But the Yellowjackets remained within striking distance.

With nine minutes left, the Yellowjackets cut the lead to three, 66-63, following a three-point jumper by sophomore guard Nate West. The Eagles responded in kind with a run of their own over the next five minutes that pushed the lead back up to eight, 79-71.

West embarked on a solo-run to push LeTourneau back into the game. After a pair of Yellowjacket free throws, West converted an and-one layup and a three-pointer to narrow the deficit to 81-79. In response, Avant made a clutch layup off a beautiful ‘Rapp’-around assist from Emory’s all-time assist leader to notch the Eagles an 83-79 edge. But immediately after, West again converted a step-back three to trim Emory’s lead to just one point.

Chaos ensued. With 13 seconds remaining, the referee sent Rapp to the line after a foul. On Rapp’s first try from the charity stripe, an official called Emory for a rare lane violation, resulting in a turnover on possession and a chance for the Yellowjackets to win the game. Riding the hot-hand, West hoisted a three-point attempt that didn’t fall. Rapp came away with the final rebound that sent the Eagles to the next round.

“Every night is a battle, and we are going to get every team’s best shot,” Avant said. “We felt very comfortable playing at home, and it helped tremendously having a good group of fans supporting us both night.”

Senior forward Adam Gigax finesses the ball past a LeTourneau forward at the WoodPEC March 3. Gigax contributed 14 points to the winning effort. Parth Mody/Photo Editor

With the victory, the Eagles tied their second-best ever win total of a season with 23, trailing only the 1989-1990 Emory team.

The Eagles will head to Augustana College (Ill.) to face University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh on March 9 at 5:30 p.m. CST.

Correction (3/7/18 at 9:29 p.m.): A previous version of this article stated that, during the LeTourneau University (Texas) game, the Eagles’ lead in the last five minutes was 79-7, when in fact the score should have read 79-71. The story has been updated to reflect this fact.

The Atlanta Hawks put up a strong fight in a 114-109 match-up with reigning NBA champion Golden State Warriors on March 2.

Highlights from the game included a career-high 29-point scoring effort from Hawks shooting guard Kent Bazemore and a standout offensive performance from point guard Dennis Schroder, who finished with 27 points and nine assists. As good as Bazemore and Schroder were, the Dubs stayed true to their nickname as they left Atlanta with yet another win despite Curry’s ankle injury in the first quarter.

The Warriors entered the matchup boasting a 48-14 record, while the Hawks held a meager 19-43 record. Sitting in last place in the Eastern Conference, they trail only the Memphis Grizzlies for the league’s worst record.

Atlanta started off strong in the first quarter, thanks to two quick three-pointers from small forward Taurean Prince. Prince built on his recent five-game string of solid performances in which he has posted averages of 15.6 points per game.

But a few key turnovers mid-quarter allowed the Warriors to get in transition and regain control of the game. Curry and Durant combined for 18 of Golden State’s first 25 points in the quarter en route to taking a 33-31 lead.

Although Curry suffered an ankle injury in the first quarter, he returned later in the second quarter before leaving the game for good in the second half. During Curry’s absence in the second quarter, shooting guard Nick Young filled the offensive void, starting a 10-0 run with eight points and an assist during the stretch.

“When you lose one of the best players in the league, it has an impact on the game,” Hawks Head Coach Mike Budenholzer said. “Hopefully, we put [Curry] through the grinder, but [the Warriors] had guys step up and make plays. Nick Young killed us in the first half.”

With a 62-50 lead at the half, Golden State dazzled with superior ball movement, holding a 22-10 assist margin over Atlanta.

Despite the Warriors’ seeming omnipotence, the Hawks persisted, staying in the game in part due to a tremendous second-half display from Bazemore on both ends of the floor.

“Bazemore was great,” Budenholzer said. “There were a couple times where we were down 10-12 or more, and he made big plays and defended really well against [Golden State shooting guard] Klay [Thompson].”

Bazemore’s career high scoring performance was spectacular considering he was competing against several of his former teammates. His previous stint with the Warriors only improved his attack. Bazemore mentioned his special connection with Thompson.

“It’s kind of a like a secret rivalry that we still have,” Bazemore said. “Klay and I, he was one of the first guys that I started guarding [in practice]. He’s gotten so much better and has taken tremendous steps [in his game].”

Another saving grace for the Hawks was their ability to force turnovers. Coming into the game, the team led the NBA in turnovers forced with 16 per game. Atlanta has also scored 18.6 points per game off turnovers, good for No. 2 in the NBA.

“[The Warriors] are hard to guard, but we were really engaged defensively,” Budenholzer said. “The turnovers ignited our pace.”

An unbelievable buzzer beater shot from Schroder just in front of half court capped off the third quarter. The miraculous shot cut Golden State’s lead down to six, 90-84, going into the fourth quarter.

In the final quarter, the Warriors’ dominant ball movement gave them easy looks to maintain a lead. To make matters worse, Golden State gave Atlanta a taste of its own medicine as the reigning champs forced numerous turnovers.

Despite the setbacks, the Hawks hung around due to the scoring efforts from Bazemore and Schroder, who both consistently created offense. Bazemore achieved a career high 29 points in the game, while Schroder produced an impressive stat line of 27 points and nine assists.

Down the stretch, Schroder stayed aggressive and cut the lead to two after obtaining a foul off a three-pointer attempt, while also converting all three free throws in the game.

When it mattered most in crunch time, Warriors small forward Andre Iguodala made a huge steal when the Hawks were looking for a game-tying shot with 15 seconds left. Iguodala dunked the ball on the other end which iced the game for the Warriors, who pulled out a 114-109 victory in what turned out to be a much more thrilling contest than expected.

“[The game was] a great effort from our guys,” Budenholzer said. “We felt like we got better as the game went on. There were still mistakes in the first half but we got better and better as the game went on.”

The Hawks bounced back at home March 4 in a tight 113-112 win over the Phoenix Suns before dropping their next contest on the road March 6 against the East-leading Toronto Raptors, 106-90. Atlanta’s road trip will continue March 9 when the team travels to Indiana for a meeting with 2018 Most Improved Player candidate Victor Oladipo and the Pacers.

The Emory men’s basketball team increased their winning streak to five after they defeated the University of Rochester (N.Y.) Yellowjackets 71-61 in both teams’ final regular season game Feb. 24. With this victory, the No. 7 Eagles finish the regular season with a 21-4 overall record and 12-2 in the University Athletic Association (UAA).

Freshman forward Matt Davet led the Eagles in scoring, shooting 6-9 and securing 16 points. The senior duo of guard Whit Rapp and center Christopher Avant rounded out Emory’s double figure-scorers with 12 points apiece.

“Winning 21 games overall, and 12 games in conference, is tough to do, and that’s something to celebrate,” Avant said. “We have grown a lot throughout the year, individually and as a team.”

Throughout the first half, the Eagles seemed to hold the upper hand. After only seven minutes of action, the Eagles held a 10-8 advantage. A quick 7-2 run led by junior guard Beau Bommarito pushed the Eagles’ lead to 17-10. The team held a 10-point edge with three minutes left in the first half, but a three-point shot by freshman guard Romin Williams and layups by Davet and Avant pushed the score to 38-24.

But the Eagles had to withstand a furious Yellowjacket rally. A layup by Avant gave the Eagles a 12-point lead with 16 minutes left. Nonetheless, the Yellowjackets blazed to a 12-1 run that left them with a mere one-point deficit. While a couple of buckets from Davet helped Emory to a 59-53 edge with under seven minutes in play, the Yellowjackets erased the Eagles’ margin, tying the game at 59 with four minutes remaining.

Despite the deadlock, a crucial final two minutes pushed the Eagles to victory. Emory scored the final nine points of the game, highlighted by a three-pointer from senior forward Adam Gigax and four high-pressure free throws by Davet and Rapp. The Eagles’ performance secured the team’s 12th win in the UAA.

“I’m proud of how we finished,” Rapp said. “We had a lot of contributions from multiple guys along the way, and we want to continue with that same drive heading into the postseason.”

After a triumphant end to the regular season, the Eagles have turned their focus to the next item on their agenda the NCAA Division III tournament.

“For us veterans, we are hungry to keep the season alive going into the national tournament,” Avant said. “We have made some great runs in the tournament the past several years but are looking to take it further than ever before.”

Rapp, who recently broke Emory’s all-time assist record, hopes to make the most of his final tournament campaign.

“It’s a new season now, and we will take it one game at a time,” Rapp said. “And hopefully in three weeks, we’ll have six more wins.”

Emory will host Berry College (Ga.) in the first round of the NCAA DIII tournament Friday, March 2. It will be the two teams’ second meeting this season: Emory came out on top in a high-scoring affair, 109-103, at Berry Nov. 21.

Sophomore guard Allison Chernow (center) skies for a layup in the Eagles’ defeat against New York University Feb. 16. Forrest Martin/Staff

Emory women’s basketball had two respectable performances over the weekend with a close defeat at the hands of New York University (NYU) Feb. 16 and a victory in a balanced effort against Brandeis University (Mass.) Feb. 18.

The two games bring the Eagles to an overall record of 13-11, 7-6 in the University Athletic Association (UAA).

In the game against NYU, Emory looked to build on the success they had last weekend when they defeated Carnegie Mellon University (Pa.) and Case Western Reserve (Ohio) on the road. The Eagles had three double-figure scorers: Sophomore forward Erin Lindahl (11 points), junior guard Azzairia Jackson-Sherrod (12 points) and junior center Ashley Oldshue (17 points) who also shot a perfect 4-4 from the charity stripe. Emory also received a big spark off the bench in what turned out to be a standout cameo appearance by sophomore point guard Hazel Carmona.

“Carmona plays the one or two guard for us,” Oldshue said. “She scored seven points in two minutes in the first half, which was big for us. We had a lot of trouble scoring on their defense where they pack the lane, which helped our guards get more space to attack the basket.”

After Emory fell into a hole at halftime, Emory lost in close fashion as the gap proved too much to overcome. The Eagles fell to NYU 63-58. The unrecoverable deficit in the game highlights a larger trend that Oldshue said is an area upon which the team is looking to improve.

“We have struggled with cutting off [the] team’s momentum all season,” Oldshue said. “We had some trouble scoring in the second, and they came out aggressive for the entire game. We have to be more aware of when a run is starting and try to cut it off earlier.”

Despite the Eagles’ deficit going into halftime, the team responded well to start the second half, giving themselves a chance down the stretch.

“We just started playing tougher and more [aggressively] to match their physicality,” Oldshue said. “NYU is always a good hustle team with good physicality. We made a few offensive adjustments which helped. If we had started to build momentum earlier, [then] it could have changed the course of the game more.”

In the end, Emory failed to make a comeback due to losing key battles on the glass.

“Down the stretch, there were [a] couple times where we gave up too many second chances,” Oldshue said. “[Head Coach Misha Jackson] always says we have lost when the rebound margin is close or we are behind in it. It was more things we could have done earlier than final plays, in retrospect.”

Emory’s balanced effort on both ends of the floor defined the game against Brandeis.

“Against Brandeis, we were a pretty balanced team,” Oldshue said. “[Sophomore guard] Allison [Chernow] was shooting well and Erin [Lindahl] was playing really hard. [Sophomore guard] Safiya [Dzotsi] is always playing hard. It was a good balance compared to games we’ve had this year.”

Trailing by four at the half, the Eagles responded by taking a commanding eight-point lead going into the fourth quarter. The 12-point swing proved critical in pulling out a 57-50 victory.

“We took the aggressor role in the second half to control the tempo and make them defend all the options we have in our offense,” Oldshue said. “It was partly a toughness piece more in the second half then we had in the first.”

The team addressed ball security between the games. The significantly lower turnover margin proved to be a pivotal factor in their victory against Brandeis. Another key area was improving on the boards, which was a big factor in Emory’s loss against New York.

The game against Brandeis also happened to be the final home game of the season for Emory. With no seniors on the roster, the Eagles faced an unusual scenario on what would have normally been the team’s senior day celebration. The team has embraced its relative youth, and players believe it will benefit them moving forward.

“It doesn’t really impact us on a team dynamic perspective,” Oldshue said, referring to the team’s lack of seniors. “We only have three upperclassmen. We definitely have a young team. It helps with confidence going into next year knowing everyone is returning.”

The Eagles are set to close out their regular season at Rochester University (N.Y.) Feb. 24 at 2 p.m.

Freshman guard Romin Williams (right) attacks through contact in the Eagles’ home win against New York University Feb. 16. Williams led the team in scoring with 21 points. Parth Mody/Photo Editor

The No. 7 Emory men’s basketball team garnered two victories against conference foes New York University (NYU) and Brandeis University (Mass.) over the weekend, improving its University Athletic Association (UAA) record to 11-2. The Eagles checked NYU 96-85 with a record-breaking performance from senior guard Whit Rapp Feb. 16 and bested Brandeis 82-69 Feb. 18, making for a cheerful senior day celebration.

After a Jan. 19 road win over NYU, the Eagles dominated yet again in their offensive game over the Violets at home Feb. 16.

Freshman guard Romin Williams and junior guard Gebereal Baitey led the Eagles in scoring, posting 21 (7-13 shooting) and 20 points (8-12 shooting), respectively. Senior forward Adam Gigax and freshman forward Matt Davet also proved their prowess on the court, contributing 13 points and 11 points, respectively.

But the night belonged to senior guard Whitt Rapp, who recorded 11 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds to make Emory history. With 17 minutes left in the second half, Rapp’s assist to junior forward Beau Bommarito broke Emory’s all-time assist record, besting former guard Austin Claunch’s (12C) record of 580. Rapp stands alone at 583 career assists after Friday’s match.

“Breaking the assist record … was so special to me because it wasn’t just my award,” Rapp said. “I’ve been lucky enough to be surrounded by some unbelievable players over these last four years, and they have made my job easy. They’re the ones that make me look good.”

With 14 minutes left in the first half, the Violets held a five-point advantage over the Eagles, but after a 17-2 run, the Eagles never looked back. Williams started the barrage by nailing back-to-back threes, while Davet added five points. Later in the half, Williams added three treys, bringing his first-half point total to 17 and helping the Eagles to a 50-36 edge at halftime.

During the second half, the Eagles maintained their offensive onslaught. While NYU fought back with an eight-point deficit on a couple occasions, the Eagles halted every chance the Violets had of coming back. With a 53-45 Eagle advantage and 18 minutes left, five consecutive points from Baitey and a Bommarito three-pointer pushed their lead to 16. After NYU cut the deficit back to eight points late in the half, an Eagle trey by Rapp all but sealed the game.

Emory shot 50.7 percent from the floor and converted a season-high 16 three-pointers in one of their best offensive performances of the season.

Two days later, the Eagles proved once again that they were a force to be reckoned with when they defeated Brandeis on Emory’s senior day.

Davet led the Eagles with 22 points in only 18 minutes of action, while Rapp continued to build on his assist record, adding nine. Meanwhile, senior forward Donald Avant, in his first career-start, provided a massive spark by posting a career-high 17 points on a perfect seven-of-seven from the field and adding a game-high eight rebounds in 18 minutes.

Reflecting on his past four years on the team, Avant said that he anticipated senior day as a special occasion that he celebrated with his family, who visited from out of town.

“Senior day is a day you think, as a freshman, will never come,” Avant said. “Then you look back as a senior, and it feels like the last four years have happened in the blink of an eye. For me personally, it was a special day because it was my first career-start.”

Trailing 46-44 at halftime, the Eagles’ dexterity in the second half stole the win. With the game knotted at 57 points each, the Eagles responded with a 10-0 run, featuring layups from Bommarito and Avant and a pair of threes by Davet, resulting in a 67-57 lead with nine minutes and 22 seconds left.

While the Judges drew close within nine points with less than six minutes left, late baskets by Baitey and Gigax sealed the Eagles’ victory.

In the second half, the Eagles held the Judges to a 29.6 shooting percentage, while shooting 51.7 percent in the decisive half.

The Eagles’ seniors were able to finish their last regular season home game as winners.  

“It was a great team win, and I’m glad we were able to close it off in the second half and get the win,” Avant said. “I could not have asked for a better senior day with my family, the three other seniors and the rest of my teammates.”

The Emory Eagles (20-4 overall, 11-2 in UAA) tied the school’s second-highest conference win total with the weekend’s victories.

Emory will close out their regular season with another conference matchup at the University of Rochester (N.Y.) (16-8 overall, 7-6 in UAA) Feb. 24.

Tennis Falls to Local Rivals

The No. 2 Emory women’s tennis team lost their first two matches of the season this past weekend. The Eagles suffered a 6-3 loss at home to Georgia State University Feb. 10 and a 6-1 loss to Coastal Carolina University (S.C.) Feb. 11.

Senior Bridget Harding and freshman Ysabel Gonzalez-Rico won their doubles match 8-3 against Coastal Carolina, moving Harding to tie for fifth place all-time with 93 career victories. But Coastal Carolina won second and third doubles to claim the point. Gonzalez-Rico was the only Eagle to snag a singles win, 6-4, 7-6 (7-5).

Against Georgia State, Harding and Gonzalez-Rico won first doubles, while senior Anna Fuhr and freshman Stephanie Taylor claimed second doubles, both matches by a score of 8-5. Sophomore Emma Perelman won sixth singles for Emory in straight sets, 6-3, 6-1.

The team is set to play at home again Feb. 18 against Columbus State University (Ga.) at 1 p.m.

Georgia Gwinnett College swept the Emory men’s tennis team at home, 9-0, Feb. 11 in the Eagles’ first match of the season. Senior Scott Rubinstein and junior James Spaulding played to a close 8-6 loss in first doubles, matching the result of junior Jonathan Jemison and senior Max Renke in third doubles. The Eagles will face at home Feb. 17 Bluefield State College (W.Va.) at 10 a.m. and Xavier University of Louisiana at 3 p.m. — Alisha Compton

Softball Redeems in Rematch

The Emory softball team began their season by splitting a double-header against the Birmingham-Southern College (Ala.) Panthers Feb. 9. The Eagles came up short in the first game, losing 5-2, but came back to shut out the Panthers while putting up five runs of their own.

Both teams were tied at one run a piece heading into the top of the fifth of game one. It was then that the Panthers hit their stride and added four runs, enough to win the game 5-2.

In game two, junior pitcher Toko Miller stymied the Panthers, throwing a complete game shutout. Miller allowed only three hits, a walk and struck out five batters in seven innings of work. Sophomore catcher Greta Wilker put an exclamation point on the 5-0 victory with a solo homerun in the bottom of the third.

Emory will host Berry College (Ga.) in a double-header Feb. 17. — Stephen Mattes

Avant, Men’s Basketball Beat Buzzer

The Emory men’s basketball team tallied two crucial University Athletic Association (UAA) road wins this weekend, topping Carnegie Mellon University (Pa.) 82-80 Feb. 9 and Case Western Reserve University (Ohio) 75-72 Feb. 11. The wins improve Emory’s season record to 18-4 with a 9-2 UAA record. With three conference games remaining, the Eagles sit solidly at No. 2 in the UAA standings, just behind No. 1 Washington University in St. Louis (Mo.) (20-2, 11-0).

Emory held the last-place Carnegie Mellon Tartans at arms length for most of the contest, but the Tartans crept closer as the game progressed, tying the score at 80 after three clutch free throws from senior guard Ryan Maha with 13 seconds remaining. On the game’s final possession, senior center Christopher Avant put in the winning bucket with one second left on the clock, giving Emory the 82-80 victory. Senior forward Adam Gigax led the scoring with 27 points and junior guard Gebereal Baitey added 16 points, seven rebounds and three assists.

Sunday’s contest at Case Western was a nail-biter, fraught with lead changes. Two free throws from Emory freshman guard Romin Williams with 15 seconds remaining gave Emory a three-point advantage that held till the final buzzer. Williams finished with 20 points while senior guard Whitt Rapp nearly dropped a double-double, adding 10 points along with nine assists.

The team will face New York University Feb. 16 at home at 3 p.m.

Kevin Kilgour

Emory women’s basketball earned two critical road wins this weekend against Carnegie Mellon University (Pa.) Feb. 9 and Case Western Reserve University (Ohio) Feb. 11. Building on a respectable road record, the Eagles overcame a nine-point halftime deficit in a nail-biting victory against Carnegie Mellon 66-64 and secured a win over Case Western Reserve 73-62.

Coming off a road trip in which the Eagles fell to both University of Chicago and Washington University in St. Louis (Mo.), the pressure was on to end their UAA slump.

In the game against Carnegie Mellon, the Emory trio of sophomore forward Erin Lindahl (16 points), junior guard Azzairia Jackson-Sherrod (11 points) and junior center Ashley Oldshue (22 points on 8-12 shooting) led the Eagles’ attack.

“We just started being more aggressive in the second half, which led us to a few runs in the third quarter,” Oldshue said, noting that the team usually plays more of an up-and-down pace.

The game came down to the wire as Emory notched a 66-64 victory after they trailed 30-39 at halftime. The Eagles’ aggression in the second half proved to be a major factor in gaining control of the game down the stretch.

“The best teams win on the road,” Interim Head Coach Misha Jackson said. “You have to win big games on the road together. [Our team] stayed together and didn’t panic when they faced adversity. They made the decision in the locker room at halftime to do what it takes.”

Building on the confidence that came with the win over Carnegie Mellon, Emory came from behind again for a resounding victory over Case Western.

The Eagles outscored Case Western 43-30 in the second half in what turned out to be an efficient offensive performance, with Emory shooting over 50 percent from the floor and with 20 assists in the game. The second-half surge was yet another testament to the team’s ability to make critical adjustments in the second half.

“We had the effort but not the execution,” Oldshue said. “[Case Western plays] a zone that we weren’t used to … so we had to adjust even though we weren’t getting the inside looks that we thought.”

In addition to another balanced scoring effort in which Lindahl, Oldshue and Jackson-Sherrod scored 20, 15 and 14 points, respectively, it was the team’s defensive effort that helped them create separation.

“It was determination and the defensive piece,” Jackson said. “[Sophomore point guard] Hazel Carmona and [sophomore guard/forward] Safiya Dzotsi were making the other team’s point guards work and the rest of the team wanted to reward their teammates by playing hard behind them.”

The weekend’s road wins present an opportunity to build confidence and consistency.

“It was a good weekend for us,” Oldshue said. “Both games we didn’t start out well and had to adjust. These teams can throw different things at us when we play them again, so we need to be able to adjust in the game.”

The victories bring the Eagles to an overall record of 12-10, 6-5 in the UAA. Their next game is against New York University at home Feb. 16 at 6 p.m.

Left: Williams hustles the ball past stunned opponents in a high school match. Courtesy of Romin Williams

Right: Then-high school senior point guard Romin Williams shoots from deep at Metairie Park Country Day School where he was a member of three state championship teams. Courtesy of Romin Williams

Ball has always been life for freshman guard Romin Williams. He first picked up a basketball at the age of five in New Orleans, La., and immediately fell in love with the sport and the competition that comes with it.

“I just like playing in big moments,” Williams said, adding, “I just get in a different zone. I have fun.”

A potential business major, Williams has already established himself as a dynamic force on the court.

In a Jan. 26 home game against the University of Chicago, the Eagles stretched a 10-game win streak to 11 with a 71-66 victory. Williams’ 31-point scoring flurry 19 of which were scored in the second half — was critical to keeping the win streak alive. After each successful bucket, the Emory crowd fed off Williams’ contagious energy. Williams has no poker face, wearing his emotions and excitement vividly on the court.

“I love when it’s close and we need a big play,” Williams said. “That’s my favorite part of the game. It’s the transition play. Something can happen [to] make the crowd go crazy, make our team go crazy.”

Williams attributes his love for basketball to his father, even though he never played the sport.

“Ever since I started [playing basketball, my dad] would always support me,” Williams said. “He’s not the biggest guy … but he always pushed me to do certain things and always be the best that I could be. Without him, I don’t think I’d be in the position I’m in.”

Williams said he had no Division III schools on his horizon nearing the end of high school, until he met Emory’s former Associate Coach Chris McHugh, now Head Coach at Washington and Lee University (Va.), at an elite basketball camp in Columbia University (N.Y.). Williams had his sights set on Columbia, but Williams and McHugh hit it off, spawning his interest in Emory. An exchange of email correspondence ensued, ultimately leading to Williams’ recruitment.

Head Coach Jason Zimmerman saw potential in the young athlete, and Williams eventually paid a visit to the Eagles’ home the summer before senior year. A month later, he committed to Emory.

“[Williams] had a very successful high school basketball career,” Zimmerman said. “You don’t ever truly foresee what is exactly going to happen, but … we knew Romin could be a very good scorer for us right away, and we think he’s going to be a tremendous basketball player for us for four years.”

After Williams played with seniors forward Adam Gigax, guard Whit Rapp and center Christopher Avant during the recruitment process, Williams finalized his decision to commit to Emory.

“Those guys want to win and they push me every day to be the best I can be,” Williams said. “That showed me a lesson for when I’m a senior, [and] I know how to treat the freshmen.”

Now, in his first collegiate season, the freshman guard is an integral member of Emory’s men’s basketball team. In the Eagles’ most recent contest, Williams provided a much-needed offensive boost, scoring 20 points in the game against Case Western Reserve University (Ohio). The match marked Williams’ fifth time scoring 20 or more points in a game. Shooting six of 12 from the field and three of five from behind the arc, Williams solidified the slim Eagle victory, 75-72.

“[Williams’] strength right now is he’s really natural at scoring,” Zimmerman said. “He’s going to become a better leader. He’s going to see reads better on the court as he continues to play with our team, so he’ll be able to make those adjustments as he goes through his career.”

Williams has time to find his rhythm and role in his four-year stint as an Emory Eagle.

“There’ve been ups and downs, but this team is perfect,” Williams said. “I feel as though, if we keep practicing every day, we can accomplish a lot of good things.”

And good things have certainly come the Eagles’ way since Williams’ arrival. The No. 2 team in the University Athletic Association (UAA) currently celebrates a 9-2 conference ledger and boasts a strong resume for admission into this year’s NCAA tournament bracket.

Freshman forward Lawrence Rowley prepares for a free throw in Eagles’ home loss against Washington University in St. Louis (Mo.) Jan. 28. Emory fell to the Bears again Feb. 4. Parth Mody/Photo Editor

The No. 15 Emory men’s basketball split a UAA rematch weekend against the University of Chicago (Ill.) and the University of Washington in St. Louis (Mo.). With hopes of reclaiming at least a share of the UAA lead, Emory checked the UChicago Maroons 66-61 Feb. 2 but suffered yet another loss against the No. 2 WashU Bears 82-69 Feb. 4.

After the Eagles won their first game against UChicago (8-11) in the WoodPEC Jan. 26, the team once again proved their dominance on the road.

Senior center Christopher Avant and freshman guard Romin Williams led the way, scoring 17 points each. Avant finished the night shooting an efficient 7-10 from the field, including 3-3 on his three-point attempts. Williams, Emory’s leading scorer, ended 7-15 shooting, notching his fourth consecutive double-figure scoring outing.

“I was able to get in a rhythm against Chicago because of the trust that [Head Coach Jason Zimmerman] and my teammates put in me to make shots,” Avant said. “We make a conscious effort to work the ball on offense and pass up good shots to get great ones. When you have that kind of support behind you, making the shot is the easy part.”

In an overall close match, the Maroons led 35-33 at halftime.

In the second half, the Eagles went on a quick 10-2 run, thanks to junior guard Gebereal Baitey (10 points, 5-8 shooting). Baitey contributed a quick six points during that stretch with a pair of layups and a jump shot.

But the Maroons retaliated with a pair of jump shots from junior guard Noah Karras, who finished the game with a team-high 17 points.

After the teams tied at 45 points each, the Eagles secured the lead after Williams converted a triple off an assist by senior guard Whit Rapp. Later in the game, the Eagles went on a 7-2 run to push their lead to eight points. While the Maroons hung close, a triple by Avant all but sealed the match for the Eagles.

On Sunday, however, the Eagles struggled against a dominant and UAA-undefeated WashU (18-2, 9-0 in UAA).

Freshman forward Matt Davet led the Eagles in scoring, notching 13 points on 5-10 shooting. Rapp and Williams followed, contributing a dozen points each.

In the first half, it seemed as though the pair’s offensive contributions could bring the Eagles to victory. Davet and Rapp poured a couple three’s and went on individual runs that gave Emory a 38-37 lead into the break.

But the Bears took complete control during the second half. WashU started the half with a blazing 13-5 run and an onslaught of layups that erased Emory’s fleeting one-point edge. While the Eagles cut the their lead to four following an and-one three-point play by Williams, that was the closest they would get for the rest of the game.

The Bears ended up outscoring the Eagles 45-31 in the second half, shooting 59 percent in the last 20 minutes. The Eagles, on the other hand, were ice cold. They converted only 33.3 percent of their field goal attempts with only two of 20 three-point shots.

“We have to continue to get better defensively,” Avant said. “They are a strong, experienced team that took advantage of our mistakes. We will without a doubt face a team of such caliber in the national tournament come March and will need to be better prepared.”

The Eagles now stand at 16-4 overall, 7-2 in UAA play, good for No. 2 in league standings. The team will play at last-place Carnegie Mellon University (Pa.) Feb. 9.