Upset Bid for Men's Basketball Falls Short in NCAA Opening Round

Upset Bid for Men's Basketball Falls Short in NCAA Opening Round

ATLANTA — Despite rallying to gain the lead early in the second half, the Berry College men's basketball team saw their season come to an end on Friday night, falling to the No. 6 Emory University Eagles 91-72 in the opening round of the NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Tournament. 

The Vikings will conclude the season 11-18, despite four members scoring double figures. In front of a crowd of more than 700, Berry found themselves behind 39-33 at the break. Berry trailed by as much as 14 late in the first period, but several made free throws and wise offensive possessions kept the game to within two possessions at halftime. 

Out of the half, Berry stuck with Emory shot-for-shot before a made jump shot from Elijah Hirsh gave the Vikings their first lead of the evening. It lasted just over 20 seconds, however, as the hot-handed Eagles' freshman, Romin Williams, nailed a three pointer to reclaim the lead. With Williams leading the charge, Emory was able to pull away and dash Berry's upset hopes. 

Berry was 42.9-percent from the field in the first half, but tight defense limited them to just a 34.3-percent mark in the second period. The Eagles also forced 21 Berry turnovers, resulting in 28 points for the home team. 

The Vikings were led by senior Caleb Johnson, who put up 15 points in his final game in the Silver and Blue. Senior Alton McCloud and junior Elijah Hirsh followed with 13 points apiece. 

BERRY STANDOUTS:

EMORY STANDOUTS:

  • Romin Williams: 25 PTS, 8-for-16 FG, 5-for-11 3PT, 3 AST
  • Chris Avant: 16 PTS, 7-for-12 FG, 6 REB
  • Whitt Rapp: 14 PTS, 4-for-5 FG, 8 AST
  • Gebereal Baitey: 12 PTS, 6-for-14 FG, 4 REB

NOTABLES:

  • Elijah Hirsh recorded yet another double-double, finishing with 15 on the year.
  • This is the first time since 1992 Berry has been in the national tournament and the team's first appearance in the NCAA Division III postseason.

WATCH:

Berry College postgame interview