The Emory men’s basketball team extended their winning streak to six, with two wins this past weekend. The Eagles’ beat the University of Chicago (Ill.) 61-53 and defeated Washington University in St. Louis (Mo.) in a 74-73 nail biter.
The Eagles put together a strong performance on Friday, beating a 21st-ranked University of Chicago team by a score of 61-53. Senior forward Will Trawick continued to build on his already great season. Trawick led the team in scoring, with 19 points and five rebounds. Senior forward Davis Rao finished with a double-double, posting 17 points and 10 rebounds on the night. Sophomore forward Adam Gigax was the third and final Eagle to put up double digits in scoring, recording 10 points in addition to four rebounds. Sophomore point guard Whit Rapp struggled in shooting the ball (one for seven) and finished with only two points, but he managed to distribute the ball well, notching seven assists.
The Eagles won the game from behind the arc. Despite the fact that the Eagles and Maroons essentially shot equally as well from the field overall, 36.2% (21 for 58) and 36% (18 for 50), respectively, the Eagles drastically outshot Chicago from beyond the arc, shooting 37% (10 for 27) compared to a dismal 24% (six for 25). The win against the University of Chicago extended the Eagles’ win streak to five games. Head Coach Jason Zimmerman credited the team’s success from three-point range to their ability to space the floor.
“We have five guys on the court most of the time who can shoot the three,” Zimmerman said. “We like to utilize the three and play fast.”
On Sunday, Emory beat Washington University in St. Louis for the second time in seven days in a tight 74-73 contest at the Woodruff Physical Education Center. The Eagles remain undefeated at home this season, and were able to extend their win streak to six. Sixth man junior guard Jonathan Terry stole the show, recording 21 points and five rebounds while going seven for 13 from the field, as well as a perfect four for four from the free throw line. Rao (15 points, five rebounds, five for 11 from the field) and Trawick (14 points, four rebounds, three assists) were also able to contribute solid performances. Junior forward Austin Dague joined Trawick, Rao and Terry in double digits on the night, scoring 10 points. Rapp ended the night with 11 assists to go with three points.
“We really have six starters this year,” Zimmerman said. “I mean, [Terry] doesn’t start but he plays his 30 minutes. He’s basically a starter. We don’t really care about who starts or who finishes, we just worry about who helps us compete and gives us a chance to win.”
The game was close from start to finish. No team held a lead larger than six points, and there were 13 lead changes throughout the game. In a game with many short four to five point runs, no play stood out more than Terry’s four point play with 5:44 remaining. With the Eagles down 61-60, Terry caught a pass from Rapp and drew contact as he was pulling up from three. Terry’s shot went in, and with a successful free throw, Emory took a 64-61 lead. After a WashU turnover on the other end, Terry hit another three-pointer to extend the lead to 67-61. In a span of 25 seconds, Terry scored seven points.
However, the Bears showed their resolve, cutting the lead to just one with 1:45 left in the match. Coming off a timeout, and with the shot clock expiring, Trawick’s desperate three went through the net to make the score 72-68. St. Louis would again force the lead back to one with a three-pointer in the waning seconds of regulation, but it was too little, too late. The score remained 74-73, and the Eagles held on to win.
“We need to do a better job at finishing the last four minutes of the game,” Zimmerman said. “We just couldn’t put them away at certain points, and a lot of that is credit to [WashU]. We gotta be better at holding that six to 10 point lead down the stretch.”
As a result of their two win weekend, Emory is now the 24th-ranked team by D3hoops, making their first appearance on the poll this season.
When asked about what the rankings meant to the team, Zimmerman said, “It means a lot. If we’re gonna have rankings, we may as well be in them.”
The Eagles return to action on Friday, Feb. 12th when they host New York University (N.Y.) at 8:00 pm.