The 17th-ranked University of Rochester basketball team picked up a key win to kick-off UAA conference play, earning an 87-76 victory over Emory University on Saturday afternoon at the Louis Alexander Palestra.
The Yellowjackets (11-1, 1-0 UAA), played a terrific game defensively, holding the Eagles (9-3, 0-1 UAA) to just 37% shooting in the game.
Rochester was led by senior Ryan Clamage who had 22 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists. Classmate Jacob Wittig had 19 points and made three 3-pointers while fellow senior Andrew Lundstrom added 10 points and five boards.
Emory's Matt Davet led all scorers with 23 points. Lawrence Rowley had 15 points and a game-high nine rebounds while Romin Williams chipped in 17 points for the Eagles.
A 7-0 Yellowjackets burst started the game, with buckets from Clamage, Patrick Benka and a three from Wittig. UR then followed with a 10-0 spurt, with four different scorers, to lead 21-5. Trent Noordsij and Wittig made three's after Clamage and Lundstrom provided layups inside.
Rochester was up 17, leading 24-7 before Davet sank Emory's second basket of the game with over nine minutes elapsed. The Eagles combined to make just one of their first 13 field goal attempts and made just three baskets in the opening 10 minutes of the game.
Emory began chipping away at the big Yellowjacket lead though. An extended 19-7 run over six minutes got the Eagles back within three points with under 90 seconds left in the opening half. Rowley and Williams each had seven points in the run, while the Yellowjackets went cold, making just 2-9 from the floor.
At the break, Rochester was up 42-37.
Another quick start, with UR scoring nine of the first 15 points of the second half, built Rochester's lead back up to double-digits with 17:30 on the clock. The Yellowjackets didn't miss, making four straight buckets to open the period.
Emory got back within five, but Clamage stopped the run with a big 3-pointer from the corner a minute later.
Answering a Williams 3-pointer, UR then scored three straight baskets, a layup from Ryan Algier, and jumpers from Noordsij and Michael Mangan to get the lead back to 13, up 64-51 with 12 minutes and change left.
Rochester's lead would not dip below ten the remainder of the game. For the contest, UR shot 48% from the floor and made 10-26 3-pointers (39%). Emory only made six three's, but was solid from the free throw line, making 22-25 (88%) attempts.
The Yellowjackets distributed the ball well, handing out 21 assists on 29 made field goals, with five players each recording three helpers or more.
UR's victory snaps a three-game losing streak to Emory, while the loss ends Emory's five-game winning streak overall this season.
Both Rochester and Emory head to the Midwest next weekend for more conference action. The Yellowjackets play at the University of Chicago next Friday, with Emory taking on Washington University in St. Louis. The teams then flip opponents next Sunday.