ATLANTA – Junior guard Mack Montague registered career highs in points and three-point goals, but the University of Rochester was edged, 78-75, by Emory University on Saturday afternoon.
Montague finished with 23 points, including 7 of 10 outside the arc to take game scoring honors. Jared Seltzer had 16 points, and Sam Borst-Smith scored 15 to accompany six assists and two steals.
Davis Rao scored 16 points to lead six Emory players in double figures. Jonathan Terry scored 14 points. Whit Rapp had 13, Adam Gigax 12, Austin DaGue 11, and Will Trawick added 10. Rapp had seven assists and three steals. Trawick grabbed eight rebounds for Emory and Gigax had seven.
It was the University Athletic Association opener for both teams. Emory is 8-4 overall, 1-0 UAA. The Eagles have made three straight appearances in the NCAA Division III Championships. They are the defending UAA men's basketball champions.
Rochester slipped to 7-5 overall, 0-1 in the UAA. Next weekend, the Yellowjackets visit Brandeis (January 15) and NYU (January 17). Emory plays the same two schools in reverse order.
Montague had six of his three-pointers in the second half. Rochester led very early in the game (8-1 in the first three minutes). Emory edged ahead, 19-17 before Seltzer sank a three-point goal to give Rochester a 20-19 lead. Emory pushed back in front but Rochester tied the score twice, first at 26-26 on a layup by Borst-Smith, then at 33-33 on a Seltzer jumper with 2:23 left. Emory scored the last six points of the half and took a 39-33 lead into the locker room.
Rochester opened the second half with a 7-0 run – a layup from Jeff Wittig (four points, five assists, two steals). Montague drained a three, and Borst-Smith hit 2 of 2 from the line. It was 40-39 Rochester before Emory got going.
The Eagles used a 16-4 run, climaxed by a traditional three-point play from Trawick to lead, 58-47, with 12:48 remaining. That lead grew to 16 points, 68-52, with nine minutes to go before Rochester's defense and offense began to click.
Emory missed shots twice from distance as the shot clock approached 00 and Rochester went on a 13-3 sprint with a pair of three-pointers from Montague, one from Tyler Knox in the right corner, a driving layup from Brendan O'Shea, and a putback by Seltzer. It was 71-65 with just under three minutes left.
Rao made four free throws in 19 seconds, offsetting another three-pointer from Montague and one of two from the line by Borst-Smith (75-69 with 0:49 showing).
NOTES: Montague's previous career highs were 21 points, set last season at Case Western Reserve in February and five three-pointers, done twice, most recently at Washington University in St. Louis. In his last three games, he has scored 70 points (17.5 ppg.) after not scoring in double figures in the first eight games this year.