Senior Gebereal Baitey tied for the team lead with 17 points and the Emory men's basketball team maintained a share of first place in the University Athletic Association following a Friday evening victory at Case Western Reserve. The Eagles upped their overall slate to 18-5, 9-3 in the league, after coming away with an 83-71 decision over the Spartans who slipped to 9-14 in overall action, 2-10 in the conference.
Baitey finished the contest five-of-seven from the floor, including three-of-four from beyond the arc, and converted five free throws in six tries in notching his ninth double-figure scoring effort of the season. Sophomore Lawrence Rowley came through with a huge performance, dialing up his fifth double-double of the campaign with a 17-point, career-high tying 15-rebound outing. Rowley was successful on seven-of-nine field goals in registering his 20th double-digit scoring effort of the season. Rowley also disrupted the Case Western offense by totaling a career-high five blocked shots, the high-water mark by an Emory player this season. Sophomores Matt Schner and Nick Stuck contributed 16 and 14 points, respectively, to the cause with Schner pulling down nine boards and Stuck dishing out five assists.
The Eagles fought off a second-half rally by the Spartans in raising their away/neutral record to 7-3. A three-pointer by Rowley with 18:26 left in the contest gave Emory a 44-34 lead, but a 7-0 CWRU burst in an 80-second span sliced the Eagles' lead to three points. A three-pointer by Stuck pushed Emory to a 53-48 advantage with 13:42 left, but seven unanswered points by CWRU, capped by a triple from Jack Vaselany, put the hosts ahead by a pair with 12:02 on the clock. Vaselaney would lead the Spartans in scoring for the game with 17 points. Trailing by a two-point margin, sophomore Matt Davet accounted for five points of an 8-0 charge that allowed the Eagles to claim a six-point edge. After three straight CWRU points cut Emory's lead in half, the Eagles took command of the contest with a decisive 13-3 blitz that saw five different players find their way into the scoring column. Rowley picked up four points in that stretch while Baitey chipped in a three-point play. Back-to-back triples by the Spartans' Monty Khela kept them within range, down seven with 3:51 on the clock, but Emory would register seven of the game's final nine points to seal the outcome.
Emory ended the evening 46.8 percent (29-of-62) from the floor while the Spartans checked in a 41.9 percent (26-of-62). Case enjoyed the advantage in three-point shooting, 45 percent (9-of-20) to 36.4 percent (8-of-22), but the Eagles made up for that disparity by recording a 45-29 bulge in rebounding, 17-9 on the offensive end of the floor.
As a result of a 15-6 spurt that saw Baitey knock down a pair of three-pointers and Schner add five points, the Eagles bolted to a 35-18 bulge with 5:12 left in the first half. However, the Spartans closed out the final 4:02 of the stanza on a 14-4 spurt, keyed by four-of-four three-point shooting, to narrow the gap to 39-32 heading into the break. Schner produced 14 points during the opening 20 minutes while Baitey picked up 11 points, nailing four-of-six from the field including all three of his treys for the night.
Emory returns to action on Sunday when it plays at Carnegie Mellon in a noon tip.