Both the Emerson men’s and women’s basketball squads toppled NEWMAC teams with better records to close out their seasons on Saturday, February 18, at Suffolk University’s Regan Gymnasium.
The women edged out Smith College, 67–66, to finish 11–13 on the season (5–11 NEWMAC), while the men beat Wheaton College, 83–78, to end the season at 7–18 (3–11 NEWMAC).
Before games, the Lions honored seniors Elizabeth Horan, captain, and Jared Kortsen and Bilal Rabbani for their dedication and hard work throughout their Emerson careers.
With just two seconds remaining on the clock in overtime, Natalie Clydesdale ’20 sank the game-winning jumper to push the Emerson women’s basketball team past Smith (17–8, 9–7 NEWMAC) in the Lions’ season finale.
Emerson held its biggest lead of the game at 4:36 into the first quarter (7–4) with sophomore Charlie Boyle’s successful jumper before the Pioneers squared the score 8-all on a pair of free throws by Kennedy Guest-Pritch.
Smith held a four-point edge over Emerson going into the final 49 seconds of the quarter, but Quinn Madden ’20 sank a jumper and drew a foul to force the three-point play that put the Lions behind one at 12–11.
A pair of Guest-Pritch free throws ignited a 12–1 push that allowed the Pioneers to extend their lead to eight at 24–16 with 4:39 left in the half.
Madden’s layup at 4:04 sparked eight straight points, including back-to-back threes from Horan and Natalie Busch ’19 to even the score at 24-all.
Smith answered with the next five of seven points to regain a 29–26 lead as Madden’s jumper pushed the Lions within one at the half.
The Pioneers opened the third frame on a 12–5 streak to extend their lead to eight on a Guest-Pritch jumper with 4:29 to go in the quarter. Through the final 3:30 of the third, Emerson held Smith to a single shot, which allowed the Lions to tack on six points to close the gap to four, 43–39, going into the final 10 minutes.
Emerson’s biggest deficit inside the fourth quarter was five points after Smith’s Erin Hanley canned a trio of layups to put Smith up, 49–44, with 5:52 left in regulation.
The Lions squared the score twice before a single free throw by Eastin Ashby ’18 put the Lions in front, 57–55, going into the final 1:05.
Smith cut Emerson’s celebration short as Hanley drew a foul and sank the game-tying pair of free throws to send the game into overtime with the score at 57-all.
The Pioneers banged out six points to start off overtime and earned the 62–60 lead before Boyle’s two good free throws evened the score.
Clydesdale canned a three to put Emerson up, 65–64, with 2:13 left to play, but Smith’s Lauren Bondi answered with the go-ahead trey at 66–65.
With 32 seconds left to play, Sierra Ducey ’18 recovered Bondi’s triple attempt and handed the ball off to Clydesdale, who sank the game-winning three with two ticks on the clock and put the Lions up, 67–66.
Led by a 22-point performance from Geoffrey Gray ’19, the Emerson men’s basketball team ended its 2017 campaign on a winning note and grabbed the 83–78 NEWMAC victory over Wheaton.
At 19:10 of the first half, Wheaton was up front by four after back-to-back shots by Alex DuBrow and Quinton Dale, yet it would be the biggest lead they would hold over Emerson through the remainder of the game.
Michael Sheng ’18 drained a triple that sparked five more points from the Lions and was capped off by a three from Alex Mrusek ’20 to push their lead to 11–8.
Emerson held Wheaton scoreless and used a 13–0 push to balloon its lead into double digits at 12 (27–15) on a trey from Gray at 6:36 of the first half.
Wheaton made 30 percent of its first-half shots and were held to 11 points within the closing minutes, which allowed Emerson to surge to an 18-point lead of 44–26 to conclude the first 20 minutes.
A trey from Mac Sashin ’19 lifted the Lions to its largest lead of 20 at 46–26 at 19:45 of the second half.
Wheaton embarked on an 8–0 run at 13:14 that included two triples by David Carbonello and Dale and brought the Lyons within single digits at 54–45.
The Lyons continued their comeback in the later minutes of the half and cut the Emerson Lions’ once-dominant lead all the way down to four on a three by Dale to put the score at 74–70 with 1:28 to play.
Emerson kept Wheaton within distance and upped its lead to 10 (82–72) for a pair of free throws by John Geary ’18, which put Wheaton away despite two late threes by Carbonello and Nick Geremia.
Emerson’s 2016–2017 season has concluded. Despite the losses, both Smith and Wheaton enter the NEWMAC postseason bracket this week.