The men’s basketball team continued its strong start to the season, winning a pair of home games against Birmingham Southern College (Ala.) and Belhaven College (Miss.) to move to 3-0 on the season. The Eagles had no trouble with Birmingham Southern on Sunday, trouncing them 88-54, while they edged Belhaven on Tuesday night by a score of 72-65.
BSC went blow-for-blow with the Eagles early on, but a three-pointer from junior guard Jonathan Terry gave the Eagles a 9-6 lead, triggering a 9-0 run that provided an early cushion. Five straight points from BSC’s Evan Lewis cut the Eagles’ lead to a single point about halfway through the first half, but senior forward Davis Rao went on a run of his own, answering with a short jumper and a pair of three-pointers to extend the lead.
The Eagles stayed hot from behind the arc, finally pulling away late in the half thanks to a string of threes from junior forward Austin DaGue and sophomore forward Adam Gigax. Another three from junior forward Jim Gordon at the buzzer put Emory up by a commanding 42-25 margin entering the second half.
Emory stayed hot in the second half, and BSC couldn’t get much closer. A pair of threes from Terry stretched the Eagles’ lead into the twenties, part of a 12-0 run that put the game entirely out of reach for the Panthers.
Terry wound up leading the Eagles with 17 points in just 19 minutes, while also contributing eight rebounds and three assists. Gigax added 14 points and eight boards and DaGue and Rao joined them in double figures with 12 points apiece.
“We have a lot of guys on this roster who can make threes,” Head Coach Jason Zimmerman said of his team’s offensive onslaught. “When you’re making threes, it opens up the whole court.”
The Eagles fell behind early against Belhaven, but went on a quick run with a pair of layups from DaGue and a pair of three pointers from Rao to pull ahead 14-11. Belhaven reclaimed the lead with just under eight minutes left in the half with a steal and layup, but a Gigax jumper put Emory back up, 24-23.
It looked as if Belhaven might start to pull away entering the half, but Gigax drained a three with five seconds to go to knot the score at 33 apiece.
Both teams swapped small leads for the first few minutes of the second half, but a monster stretch from Gordon — draining two threes on consecutive possessions — gave the Eagles a nine point lead that they would not surrender for the rest of the way.
Emory was up by as much as 16 points with four minutes to go, before a rapid 9-0 Belhaven run cut the lead to 68-61 with a minute remaining. However, senior forward Will Trawick sank a key layup and the Eagles emerged with a comfortable victory.
DaGue led the team with 13 points, while Trawick contributed 11 points and six rebounds.
“Trawick’s been a senior leader for us,” Zimmerman said, applauding DaGue as well for his play on both the offensive and defensive ends.
The Eagles will try to keep their undefeated record intact this weekend at the Hoopsville National Invitational Classic in Maryland, where they’ll open play on Friday evening against St. Thomas College (Minn.).