The men’s basketball team is now on a five-game win streak, after winning three games convincingly over Thanksgiving break. The squad now stands at a record of 6-2 after beginning the season 1-2. The basketball team played the first two games of the weekend away from home at the LaGrange College Thanksgiving Classic against Maryville College (Tenn.) and then their hosts LaGrange College. The squad returned home for a Dec. 4 game against Covenant.

In the first game of the LaGrange Classic, the Eagles matched up with the Maryville Scots. The Eagles, who trailed after the first half 48-43, rode some hot shooting to a victory by a comfortable margin, 90-79. In the first half, Emory shot 50 percent from the field behind senior forward Jake Davis who had 14 points in the 20-minute period. The Eagles charged back in the second half, again led by Davis and senior guard McPherson Moore, who finished the game with totals of 25 and 19 points, respectively. The Eagles, who led 65-61 midway through the second half, used two treys from Moore to take a 73-63 lead that they would protect for the remainder of the game. The game was an offensive affair, with both teams shooting at least 50 percent from the field. Emory held a key advantage in turnovers, giving the ball up nine times while taking it away from Maryville 16 times, leading to a 27-9 advantage in Emory’s favor in points off turnovers. The Scots were led in scoring by Jaumonee Byrd, who had 20 points in the game. The Eagles improved to 4-2 on the season, while the Scots fell to 1-3.

In the second game of the Thanksgiving Classic, the Eagles faced off with the host LaGrange Panthers who entered the game 3-2. Davis continued his outstanding start to the season, tallying 31 points to lead Emory to a dominant 106-84 victory over LaGrange. Davis, who shot 7-15 from the field and 14-17 at the free throw line, had his fifth game with 20 or more points in only seven games. A large part of Emory’s emphatic victory was due to how effective the entire squad was at drawing fouls and making their free throws count at the line. The Eagles converted 33 of 45 attempts from the line. In addition, the Eagles shot a blistering 52.5 percent from the field and 44 percent from the three, while holding the Panthers to 38.7 shooting overall. Besides Davis, four other Eagles registered double-digit points, with Moore coming off the bench to finish with 16 points. Junior guard Michael Florin and sophomore guard Davis Rao each had 12 points, while sophomore forward Will Trawick finished with 11 points and a career-high 17 boards, the ninth-highest mark in a single game in the program’s history. Leading LaGrange’s offensive effort was Mark Wagner, who had 22 points. The Eagles improved to 5-2 after the game, while the Panthers fell to 3-3.

Emory returned to campus for Tuesday’s game for the squad’s home opener, facing off with the 3-2 Covenant College Scots. Leading the entire way, the Eagles rode a balanced and unstoppable offensive attack to a 110-76 victory, recording the fourth-highest single-game point total in school history. It was the team’s second consecutive game of 100 points, and fifth straight game of 90 points, paralleling the team’s five-game win streak. Led by McPherson’s 20 points on 8-14 shooting, five Eagles scored in double-digits – sophomore Alex Foster, Davis, freshman Austin Dague, and Florin. Emory’s defense was also stifling on Tuesday night, holding the Scots to a paltry shooting percentage of 33.8 percent, while outrebounding the Scots 51-46. Only two Scots scored in double figures, with Bryant Engbers leading his team with 16 points. The Scots were only down by 14 points at the half, but Moore and Davis led the team to a commanding 70-40 lead about midway through the second half. The Eagles, under Head Coach Jason Zimmerman, are now 10-1 when they score 100 or more points in a game and 34-3 when scoring 90 points or more. After its latest home-opening victory, Emory now stands at 23-5 all-time in home openers. The Eagles improved to 6-2 on the young season, while the Scots dropped to 3-3 overall.

For his dominant play at the LaGrange Classic, Davis was honored as the University Athletic Association (UAA) Men’s Basketball Player of the Week for the second straight week. In the two games at LaGrange, Davis averaged 28.0 points per game, shooting 55.2 percent from the field and 87.5 percent from the foul line. As of Dec. 4, Davis is leading the Eagles in scoring, averaging 22.6 points per game. The squad plays next on Dec. 9 at Oglethorpe University.

– By Ethan Morris

Photo courtesy of Emory Athletics

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