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Thursday, February 24, 2011

What are you doing Saturday afternoon?

At 4:00 p.m., write down “watching the Emory men’s basketball game.” Whether you live in Atlanta and can attend in person or are outside the city and access the live stats, don’t miss the Eagles’ final game of the year when they host Rochester. At 19–5 (10–3 UAA), second place in the conference is assured, but a NCAA tournament bid could be on the line. 2010–11 is already Emory’s most successful campaign in 20 years.

An OT loss on the road last weekend at Carnegie Mellon torpedoed any chance for the Eagles to challenge for a University Athletic Association (UAA) title that they haven’t won since 1990, but that’s just a small blip on what has been a stellar season.

All year, head coach Jason Zimmerman has instilled in his team a sense of discipline and smart play that’s refreshing, and unleashed an offense that can score points in huge bunches either in transition or the half court.

Leading the way is junior point guard Austin Claunch (16.2 ppg, 7.4 apg), who not only paces the team in scoring, he is one of the nation’s leaders in assists, owns a 2.95 assist-to-turnover ratio (excellent), and after setting the school record for assists in a game (12) in the fall, he tied it twice in the spring.

Claunch (pictured above with no. 21 Corey Spraggins) is certainly one of the reasons why the Eagles are good this year, but they are also a lot of fun to watch. Sophomore Alex Greven (14.8 ppg, 3.5 rpg) sinks shots that most of us wouldn’t even try in games of HORSE, 6-foot-6 sophomore post player Michael Friedberg (8.2 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 2.2 bpg) has developed into a force inside, junior Alex Gulotta (11.8 ppg) is a sniper from outside (he hits 46.4% of his three-point attempts), and freshman Jake Davis is the team’s leading rebounder (6.5 per game) and third-leading scorer (13.6 ppg) even though he doesn’t start.

And the team is going to be good next year, too. Really good. The Eagles graduate just two seniors, and only one of them, Julien “Juice” Williams (8.1 ppg, 4.8 rpg), an excellent two-way player, is a starter.

A win against Rochester, the conference champion and the No. 14 team in the nation according to d3hoops.com, could mean a great deal for Emory, which is a bubble team for the Div. III national tournament.

The Emory women’s game against Rochester kicks off the doubleheader at 2:00 p.m. Since it’s the last game of the year for both teams—and home courts really do offer an advantage—let’s send the regular season off in style.

-- Eric Rangus, director of communications, EAA

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