The Emory men's basketball team (14-8, 5-6 UAA) finished up its four game homestand on Sunday, taking on UAA opponent Chicago. In a game that featured 16 lead changes, the Eagles had the lead when it mattered most as they prevailed over the Maroons, 88-82. Junior Albert Fallas drilled a dagger three from deep with under a minute remaining to bring the crowd to its feet and secure the win.
Sophomore guards Jair Knight and Ben Pearce paced the Emory offense, both scoring 19 points. Close behind was junior Cale Martens, who put up 14 points to go along with seven rebounds. Freshman AJ Harris had a worthy performance as well, scoring 11 points and recorded the assist on the pivotal three from Fallas. Senior Max Fried grabbed a team high 12 rebounds, five of which being offensive.
It was a tough start for the Eagles, though, as they stumbled out of the gate. Their shots weren't falling, and the Maroons capitalized to take an 8-2 lead after four minutes of play. But an 11-0 run in the Eagles' favor secured a lead with 13 minutes left in the opening frame. Harris was impressive on the run, scoring five of the 11 points.
The teams traded shots, including a flurry of threes from Pearce and junior Logan Shanahan as the Eagles found themselves leading 26-24 with just under nine minutes left in the half. The Maroons went on a bit of a run in the following sequence, though, as the Eagles found themselves in a 37-32 hole with five minutes left before the break.
Harris kicked off a run in the Eagles' favor this time, converting an and-one to spark the offense. Knight knocked down a few mid-range jumpers, with Martens scoring down low, and Pearce tacking on a three to give the Eagles a 44-39 lead. Knight added on five more points to fend off a Chicago run in the final two minutes of the half. He finished the half with 11 points. Fried picked up an impressive five rebounds and four assists in the first half as well, to help lead the Eagles into the half with a 49-48 lead.
The offenses came out the break hot, with 22 points being scored in the opening four-and-a-half minutes. Chicago seized their first lead of the half at the 15:43 mark when Alexander Battist knocked down a three. The two teams continued to knock down shots as they jockeyed for the lead. Emory regained a 66-63 lead at the 14:10 mark before both offenses hit a standstill.
Neither the Maroons nor the Eagles scored for the next three minutes until Shanahan converted a free throw to snap the drought. The Emory offense began to heat back up as Fallas knocked down a three with 7:23 remaining before Knight and Pearce both knocked down mid-range shots on the ensuing possessions to bring the score to 79-75.
Both offenses once again went stagnant, though, as there were just two points scored over the next four minutes. With 1:48 remaining, Chicago's Eamonn Kenah hit a three-pointer to cut into the Eagle lead, bringing the score to 81-78. After both teams traded misses on their ensuing possessions, the Eagles called a timeout to draw up a play to put the game away. Head Coach Jason Zimmerman put the ball in Fallas' hands, and he delivered. The junior nailed a deep three-point shot with 00:39 on the clock to bring the crowd to its feet and force the Maroons to call a timeout.
Down 84-78, the Maroons chipped away with a few layups, but the Eagles knocked down their free throws to pull away with an 88-82 win. The Eagles finished the day shooting 50% from the field and 33.3% from beyond the arc.
With the victory, the Eagles improve to 14-8 overall and 5-6 in conference play. With three conference contests remaining, Emory finds itself tied for fourth in the UAA standings. The Eagles will hit the road this upcoming weekend for its final road trip of the season as they head to No. 10 ranked Case Western Reserve and Carnegie Mellon. The game against Case Western Reserve will tip off at 7:30 PM on Friday and the contest with Carnegie Mellon at 12:00 PM Sunday.