The No. 16 ranked Emory University men's basketball team withheld a furious second half comeback to defeat No. 7 Case Western Reserve University, 90-81 in overtime, Sunday afternoon in Atlanta.
With the bounce back, Emory improves to 11-3 on the season and 2-1 inside UAA play. The loss is CWRU's second straight as they drop to 11-2 and 1-2 in conference action.
Four starters finished in double digits for the Eagles, led by freshman Benjamin Pearce's team-high 23 points. Making his first-ever collegiate start, freshman Jair Knight recorded 18 points thanks for a 10-for-11 effort from the free throw line. Senior Mason Johnson provided another double-double with 16 points and a team-high 10 rebounds while fellow big man Cale Martens had 14 points and seven boards.
Emory set the tone early jumping out to a 10-1 lead within the opening four minutes, a lead that would grow to as many as 17 points with 3:21 remaining in the half. However, the Spartans kept the Eagles scoreless from that point until the halftime break, closing the half on a 7-0 run to give Emory a 41-31 advantage at the break.
Case Western Reserve continued to chip away at Emory's lead, making it a three-point game at 51-48 at the 14:40 mark following back-to-back triples from Cole Frilling. The Eagles countered with consecutive baskets from Pearce and senior Max Fried and would keep the lead until the 9:38 mark. The Spartans moved in front in the middle of a 9-0 run and led 64-60 with 9:15 to play.
With the visitors leading 70-65 at 6:48, the Eagles used a big run of their own and scored the next eight points over the next 3:48, regaining the lead at 71-70 with pair of Knight free throws. A traditional and-one by Frilling evened the score at 73 but a tremendous step back jumper put Emory back in front by two with 75 seconds left.
With Emory still leading by two, a turnover by the Eagles gave the Spartans one final chance with 19 seconds left on the clock. Off a Spartan timeout, Prendergast knocked down a layup with seven seconds left to even the score at 75-75. A charge by the Eagles gave CWRU the ball back with two seconds left, but CWRU turnover over the ensuing inbounds pass with one second left, as did Emory off their final inbounds attempt, sent the game into overtime.
In the overtime period, Martens and Pearce combined for the first six points to give Emory the lead they would not squander. The Eagles went 9-for-12 from the charity stripe to seal the win while the Emory defense held CWRU to 1-for-7 shooting in the extra period.
The Eagles will hit the road for the first time in UAA action next weekend, travelling to the northeast for bouts with NYU and Brandeis.