(PITTSBURGH, Pa.) - The Carnegie Mellon University men's basketball team pushed 13th-ranked Emory University to the limit for the second time in the last five weeks on Friday in University Athletic Association (UAA) play. A layup by Emory's Chris Avant with 0.8 seconds lifted the visitor's to an 82-80 win at Skibo Gymnasium. Carnegie Mellon moves to 5-16 overall and 1-9 in UAA play while Emory is now 17-4 and 8-2.
Carnegie Mellon trailed by as many as 12 in the second half with 15 minutes to play following a three-point bucket by Adam Gigax that made the score 55-43. Over the next three-and-half minutes, the Tartans used a 13-5 run to cut their deficit to 60-56. Emory responded and scored the next five points, but the Cardinal and Gray would not go away. A pair of foul shots by sophomore Zach Howarth (Freehold, N.J./St. John Vianney) started a span on eight straight by the Tartans which pulled the score to 65-64 with 5:50 to play in the game.
Emory held the lead over the next four minutes and led 78-71 with 1:39 to play. Carnegie Mellon then scored six straight, including a triple by sophomore Cooper Williams (Meriden, N.H./Kimball Union Academy) with 32 seconds on the clock to make the score 78-77. Following a pair of free throws by Emory's Whitt Rapp, senior Ryan Maha (West Mifflin, Pa.) was fouled as he attempted a game-tying three-point shot with 13.4 seconds to play and was sent to the line. After the senior converted all three attempts to knot the score at 80-80, Rapp found Avant with an over the top pass in the post and the forward put the ball over top of two defenders as he rolled to the right for the game winner.
The first half saw the Eagles lead by 16 with 5:27 to play before Carnegie Mellon closed the half on a 15-7 run to make the score 37-29 at the break. After shooting 33.3% from the floor in the first half, the Tartans shot 59.4% in the second half and ended the game shooting 47.5%. Emory finished shooting 44.6% from the floor for the game including a 50.0% in the second half.
Howarth led the Tartans with 25 points including a 3-of-5 effort from long range. Maha and sophomore Colin McNeil (Ringoes, N.J./Hunterdon Central Regional) each tabbed 14 in the setback. McNeil added six assists while juniors Seth Henry (Fulton, Md./Reservoir) and Patrick Ehland (Pittsburgh, Pa./Mt. Lebanon) each grabbed a game-best eight rebounds.
Gigax, who finished with 27 points, led Emory. Gebereal Baitey added 16 points for the Eagles while Avant had 11 and Beau Bommarito scored 10.
Carnegie Mellon will return to the hardwood on Sunday, February 11 when the University of Rochester travels to Pittsburgh for a 12:00 p.m. tip.