Oxford, GA - Two free throws by first-year JJ Halaby helped Emory Oxford defeat NJCAA Division II foe Florida Gateway College 89-87. With this win, the Eagles improve to 11-3 including a perfect 9-0 record at home.
Halaby led four players in double figures by scoring 28 points, including the two free throws to win the game. Halaby also led the team in assists with 8. First-year Jermon Clark had a productive night scoring 18 points, grabbing 8 boards, and blocking 2 shots. Sophomore captain Zane Patel produced a double-double with 16 point and 10 rebounds. Patel also blocked 3 shots including a key block in the final 10 seconds of regulation. Classmate Eric Lee scored 10 points to round up the night for the Eagles.
Starting the second half, Emory Oxford was up 48-45. However, this lead disappeared as the Wolves continued to attack the paint and eventually they had a 10-point lead with eight minutes to go. The Eagles did not go away and a late second half surge starting with a Patel dunk brought the Eagles back.
Down by 1, the Eagles inbound the ball into Halaby who uses a screen at the top of the key to get into the paint and draw a foul. Halaby missed the first free-throw but made the second to tie the game 87-87. The Wolves take the ball down the court and drive into the lane and throw up a tough shot. The ball seems to bounce over the backboard but the referees decide to call a jump ball, giving Florida Gateway possession.
After a timeout, the Wolves inbound the ball and the player drives baseline with a chance to take the lead, but Patel comes over and blocks the shot. Clark secures the rebound and gives it to Halaby who dribbles twice before getting fouled. In the bonus, Halaby confidently steps up to the free-throw line and sinks both to give the Eagles a two-point lead. The Wolves call a timeout to draw up a last-second play. With 4.1 seconds left, the Wolves are able to inbound the ball and dribble it down the court before giving it to one of their top shooters, who shoots a 30-footer that ended up short.
"Our players worked hard to bounce back and get this win today," commented Head Coach Roderick Stubbs. "Florida Gateway was a tough team to beat but our players competed to the very end. It feels good to finish the first-half of the season on a win."
The Eagles will have a long break until they return to action on Tuesday, January 8th against Georgia Highland Diamonds. It will be staff appreciation night and tipoff is scheduled for 4:00 PM.