GAME FACTS – The Emory men's basketball program opens its 33rd year of intercollegiate competition on Sunday (Nov. 11) when it plays at Piedmont College.
The Cave Arena in the Johnny Mize Athletic Center on the Piedmont campus will serve as the venue of the 15th-ever meeting between the Eagles and Lions and tip is slated for 7:00 pm.
THE COACHES – Jason Zimmerman (Davidson, 1994) begins his 12th year of patrolling the Emory sideline. Named head coach in April of 2007, Zimmerman came to Emory after serving as an assistant coach at the University of Evansville (2003-04 through 2006-07). Prior to his stint with the Aces, Zimmerman was an assistant at Davidson College for seven years (1996-97 through 2002-03).
During his tenure with the Eagles, he ranks as the program's winningest coach, compiling a school and career record of 194-97. In games played at the Woodruff PE Center, Zimmerman posts a 112-27 ledger and an 82-70 mark in road/neutral settings.
He has guided Emory to nine straight winning seasons and six consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018). The Eagles are the lone D-III school to have won at least one NCAA contest in each of the past six years.
After going 17-33 his first two years at Emory, Zimmerman has compiled a won-lost slate of 177-64 (.734) since the 2009-10 season.
Greg Neeley (Ohio Northern, 2007) enters his sixth year as the head coach at Piedmont College. Heading into the Emory contest, Neeley has a chalked up a school record of 66-63. In seven years as a head coach, which includes a one-year stint at Warren Wilson (2012-13), Neeley owns a career mark of 85-72.
2017-18 RECORDS – Emory closed out the 2017-18 season with an overall record of 23-5, the second-highest win total in program history and its ninth consecutive winning campaign. The Eagles earned an at-large berth to the NCAA D-III Tournament, where they advanced to the Round of 16 for the fourth time in the past five years. Emory was ranked 12th nationally in the final D3hoops.com Top 25 Poll.
Piedmont registered a won-lost slate of 15-11 in 2017-18, which included a 10-6 mark in the USA South Athletic conference. The Lions' 10 victories in league action were their most in five seasons competing in the USA South. Included in the final record was the school's fourth consecutive USA South Tournament trip.
The Lions have been picked third in the USA South West Division Preseason Coaches Poll.
SERIES RECORDS – In a series that began in January of 1988, Emory holds an 11-3 all-time mark against Piedmont. The Eagles have won the last three and eight of the last nine encounters against the Lions including last year's 83-64 outcome last year at the Woodruff PE Center. The graduated Adam Gigax paced five double-figure scorers with 15 points while returnees Romin Williams and Beau Bommarito added 14 and 13 points, respectively.
The Eagles stand 3-2 against the Lions in games played at Piedmont and 8-1 in contests at the Woodruff PE Center. Coach Zimmerman shows a 7-2 slate against Piedmont.
EMORY AND SEASON OPENERS - Emory posts a 21-11 all-time mark in season-opening games, and checks into Sunday's contest with wins in eight of its last nine season openers. Last year, Emory opened its season with the 83-64 triumph over Piedmont.
Sunday's match-up will represent the third time that Piedmont has been Emory's season-opening foe, with the Eagles claiming a 2-0 record in such contests. In addition to last year, the previous occasion that PC served as the season opener for Emory came on Nov. 13, 2015 (72-60 win at the Woodpec). Zimmerman stands 8-3 in season-opening games while at Emory.
EAGLES TOP NORTH GEORGIA IN EXHIBITION – The Eagles played an exhibition game at NCAA Division II member North Georgia on Sunday and came away with a 92-88 victory over the Nighthawks.
Sophomore Romin Williams led all players with 28 points, converting 10-of-18 field goal attempts, including six treys in 10 opportunities, while sophomore Lawrence Rowley totaled 22 points. Sophomore Matt Schner, who missed last year with an injury, was credited with 17 points.
EMORY PICKED AS TEAM TO BEAT IN UAA – Emory was picked as the team to beat in the University Athletic Association in a preseason poll conducted by the league coaches. The Eagles picked up six of the eight first-place votes cast and recorded 48 points. The University of Rochester was tabbed for second, receiving the other two first-place ballots and totaling 42 points.
BOMMARITO & BAITEY RETURN AS MOST EXPERIENCED EAGLES – Beau Bommarito and Gebereal Baitey make up two of Emory's four-member senior class, and enter the season as the program's most experienced players.
The 6-foot-3 Bommarito has seen action in a total of 81 contests, 39 in a starting capacity, and is coming off a 2017-18 campaign that saw him appear in all 28 games (27 as starter) and average 7.2 points and 3.9 rebounds per outing. He compiled 10 double-figure scoring games last season and converted 26 three-point field goals, registering six contests with two or more triples.
Baitey, 6-foot-2, has 79 games under his belt with all 28 of his starting assignments taking place last season. He ranked fourth on the team and among the top 20 players in the UAA with an 11.0 points-per-game scoring average while logging 29.7 minutes per outing. He chalked up 18 games of double-figure scoring and concluded the campaign shooting 48.8 percent (122-of-250) from the floor. He topped the club with 43 steals and his 1.5 per-game average in that category ranked third in the league.
Joey Katz (Scarsdale, NY) and Spencer Osborne (Asheville, NC) are the other two Eagle seniors.
WILLIAMS RETURNS AS LEADING SCORER – Sophomore Romin Williams looks to build upon a memorable freshman season that saw him earn both all-University Athletic Association Second Team honors and the conference's Rookie of the Year Award.
Williams took to the court in 27 contests, six as a starter, and ended up No. 1 on the squad and fourth in the league with a 15.1 points-per-game scoring average, tallying double digits in 21 games while leading the Eagles' scoring attack on 10 occasions. He drained a team-high 64 three-pointers en route to becoming the program's most prolific freshman scorer with 408 points.
DID YOU KNOW -- Since the 2010-11 season, Emory has the No. 1 record among UAA teams in overall (162-54) play and the second-best mark in league action (80-32) .… Washington University has the conference's second-best overall ledger (156-54) and the top slate in conference play (83-29) … That Emory has at least one three-point field goal in its last 545 games -- The last time the Eagles failed to convert from beyond the arc came on Feb. 14, 1997, vs. Washington University (0-of-6) … Emory was won 47 of its last 48 games when allowing 69 or fewer points (11-0 in '17-18, 7-1 in '16-17, 13-0 in '15-16, 16-0 in '14-15) … That the Eagles went 8-0 at home during the non-conference this season and have won their last 36 non-league contests dating from the early stages of the 2012-13 campaign (included in the streak are 8 NCAA Tourney wins) … Emory amassed a 10-0 record last year when finishing with 10 or more three-point field goals in a game and sports a 21-2 ledger in such contests since the 2016-17 season.
NOTES – Since the 2012-13 season, the Eagles are 99-6 when outshooting the opposition from the floor (16-1 in '17-18, 17-1 in '16-17, 12-3 in '15-16, 18-0 in '14-15) … During Jason Zimmerman's tenure as head coach, Emory stands 156-19 when leading at halftime (19-1, in '17-18, 13-0 in '16-17; 18-3 in 2015-16) … Emory is 94-11 (.894) over its last 105 home contests … The Eagles have recorded 100 or more points 48 times in program history and own a 43-5 won-lost record in those affairs … During Jason Zimmerman's tenure as head coach, Emory has 17 contests of 100 or more points and stands 16-1 in such games … Gebereal Baitey begins the 2018-19 season with 81 career steals and has recorded 24 contests with two or more thefts to his credit … Sophomore Matt Davet came off the bench in all 28 games last year and rang up 11 double-figure scoring performances and 11 games with two or more three-pointers to his credit.