Emory captured the first national championship in school history last night with a 74-65 victory over Greensboro. The team that could only muster the fourth-best record in the University Conference is sporting the big champagne hangover after winning it all. What's more, Emory won the title their way, outscoring Greensboro 21-2 during a seven-minute stretch of the second half to take control of the game. The run evoked memories of a similar streak Emory unleashed in the second half of its national semifinal game against Hardin-Simmons to reach the title game. Like so many opponents this season, Greensboro's uptempo offense had no answer for the riddle of Emory's defense. Phalla allowed just five of 37 opponents this season to score 70+ points against him. Two of those instances were overtime games. Senior Patrick Locher wrapped up his career with 16 points to lead the way a cutting of the nets. Emory shot 56.5% from the floor in the title contest.
With the win, Emory ties a Rupp record for most losses by the national champion with nine. Those of you eying the possibility of a repeat should know Emory graduates three players from the program, accounting for roughly 44% of the team's scoring.
The University also grabbed the PIT title this season, so both banners reside in the same league, and it isn't the GNE (which did end with the RPI by a conference). Toss a little more gasoline on the conversational fire of who Rupp's true top conference is at the moment, especially since I think the University went undefeated in head-to-head play against the GNE in the national tournament.
That'll bring the curtain down on another Rupp season. Mega-thanks for the regular season game recaps to keep the spirit of this thread alive for another year as there's no way I would have been able to do them (ditto for the seasons ahead as I'm starting online coursework toward a master's degree...because I just had too much spare time evidently...). With that, this is red, signing off...until next season. (cue "One Shining Moment" footage...)