The 2017-18 edition of the Emory's men's basketball team makes its debut on Friday, November 10, when it plays at NCAA Division I member Lipscomb University in an exhibition game. The Eagles and Bisons will square off at the 5,500-seat Allen Arena on the Lipscomb campus starting at 6:30 pm (CST).
The contest can be seen on ESPN3 with the link that follows:
Emory head coach Jason Zimmerman enters his 11th season with 10 returning veterans, including three starters, from last year's squad that fashioned an overall mark of 19-8. The Eagles played their way to the program's fifth straight trip to the NCAA D-III Tournament where they advanced to the second round. Emory is ranked 17th in the D3hoops.com Preseason Top 25 Poll.
A check of this year's roster reveals that three of the top four scorers return from the '16-17 squad that knocked down 247 three-point field goals, the third-highest seasonal mark in school history, and that ranked third in the University Athletic Association with an 80.6 points-per-game average. Emory scored 90 or more points on nine occasions last year. In addition, the Eagles have the bonus of having its top four rebounders back.
Headlining the returnees for Emory is senior Adam Gigax (Mason, OH), 6-foot-7, who landed First Team All-University Athletic Association acclaim after registering a team-high scoring average of 18.3 points per contest, good for second place among league players. A First Team All-South Region performer, Gigax chalked up 21 double-figure scoring outings and his 80 three-point field goals were the second-highest total in school history. A starter in all 27 games, Gigax totaled 13 contests with 20 or more points.
Senior Whit Rapp (Noblesville, IN), 6-foot, is back in the fold as one of Division III's premier point guards. Rapp doled out a school record 230 assists and his 8.5 per-game average in that category led the UAA and ranked third nationally. An extremely good decision maker, he racked up 10 or more assists on 10 occasions and his 4.1 assist/turnover ratio ranked third among all D-III players. Rapp averaged 7.6 points per contest, scoring in double figures in eight games, and paced the team with 50 steals.
Senior front liner Chris Avant (The Woodlands, TX), 6-foot-8 provided Emory with both scoring and rebounding last year, tossing in 11.6 points and grabbing a team-high 6.5 rebounds per outing, with his effort on the glass slotting him ninth in the conference. Avant produced 15 contests of double-figure scoring, including games of 20 or more points, and his team-high 58.5 percent (113-of-193) mark from the floor lead the squad and ranked third among league players.
Junior Gebereal Baitey (Morristown, NJ) will continue to be a key cog in the Emory backcourt, and could be in line for a starting role after coming off the bench in all 27 games last season, averaging 6.8 points, 1.0 steals and 15.8 minutes per playing stint. Baitey finished 2016-17 in strong fashion, scoring in double figures in seven of the squad's last eight games, averaging 11.8 points and shooting 57.1 percent from the floor in that stretch.
Lipscomb, led by fifth-year head coach Casey Alexander, was picked to finish second in the ASUN Conference Preseason Poll. The Bisons closed out last year with an overall slate of 20-13 (11-3 ASUN), and return eight of their top point producers from that team.
Junior guard Garrison Matthews, 6-foot-5, looks forward to a big campaign after pumping in a team-high 20.4 points per game en route to capturing first team all-league honors. Matthews, who knocked down 89 triples last year, also made his presence felt on the glass, placing second on the club in rebounding (5.6 rpg). Junior forward Rob Marberry, 6-foot-7, was a second-team selection to the all-league squad a year ago after averaging 12.7 points and 4.9 boards.
Emory opens the regular season on Wednesday, Nov. 15, at home against Piedmont College in a game that is scheduled to tip at 8:00 pm.