Khela’s Career-High 30 on ‘Senior Day’ Leads Spartans to Upset over No. 8 Emory

Khela’s Career-High 30 on ‘Senior Day’ Leads Spartans to Upset over No. 8 Emory

Behind a career-high 30 points from senior guard Monty Khela in the final home game of his collegiate career, the Case Western Reserve University men's basketball team upset eighth-ranked Emory University 83-78 on Sunday afternoon at Horsburgh Gymnasium in Cleveland, Ohio on "Senior Day."

The Spartans improve to 13-11 and 6-7 in the University Athletic Association. The Eagles fell to 20-4 on the season and 10-3 in the UAA. The win was the first for Case Western Reserve over Emory since the 2015-16 season and clinched a winning record for CWRU for the first time since the 2014-15 season.

Khela's point total matches the most by a Spartan this season, along with first-year forward Cole Frilling's 30 against NYU earlier this season. He shot 10-of-17 from the floor (58.8%) and five-of-nine from three-point range (55.6%). Frilling added 22 points on nine-of-14 shooting (64.3%) and collected nine rebounds, while sophomore guard Robert Faller scored 16 points, including 14 in the first half, and grabbed four rebounds. Senior forward Michael Hollis collected a team-high 11 rebounds.

Khela's final two points came on two key free throws with 14.4 seconds left in the game, after Emory cut the CWRU to just one, 79-78. On the following possession, a potential game-tying three-pointer from Emory fell short, and Frilling grabbed the rebound. He made two free throws with 4.7 seconds left to put the Spartans up five, 83-78, and clinch the upset.

With 2:26 remaining in the contest, the Eagles cut the Spartan lead to two, 76-74, with a three-pointer. A three-pointer from Frilling put the Spartans up five with 1:44 left. CWRU stopped Emory on the ensuing possession, but could not convert on its end. With 44.0 seconds left in the game, an Emory layup cut the CWRU advantage to three, 79-76. Following a Spartan turnover, an Emory layup with 41.0 seconds left made it a one-point game and set up Khela for the key free throws.

At the start of the game, the Spartans used a 10-2 run to take an early six-point lead. On the strength of a 13-5 run, the Eagles took a 17-15 lead nine minutes into the first half. Khela responded with a three-pointer to put the Spartans back ahead. A few minutes later, a Khela jumper tied the game at 22. The teams traded the lead over the next few possessions, but the Eagles tied the game at 30 with six minutes until halftime. A minute-and-a-half later, a layup from Faller after a backcourt steal put the Spartans up five, 39-34. A jumper from Faller gave the Spartans an eight-point advantage, 47-39, which they kept until halftime.

Khela and Faller combined for 30 points in the first half and made 12 of their 20 attempts (60.0%). As a team, CWRU shot 55.9% from the floor in the opening period.

Nine points from Khela to start the second half put the Spartans up 17, 56-39, their largest lead of the afternoon. Emory responded with a 15-6 run to cut into the deficit, and Case Western Reserve led by just eight, 62-54, with 11 minutes left in the game. The Eagles made it a seven-point game, 64-57, midway through the second half with a three-pointer. With seven minutes to play, CWRU led 71-65 after Emory made a free throw. A three-pointer from junior guard Antonio Ionadi put the Spartans up nine, 76-67 with five minutes left, giving the Spartans enough breathing room to thwart the Eagles' late comeback attempt.

The Spartans outshot Emory 47.1% to 42.6% in the game, including a 40.9% to 30.8% edge from behind the three-point line.

The upset marked the first Spartan win over a team ranked in the top 10 of the D3Hoops.com Poll since they defeated then-No. 6 Rochester on February 19, 2017. Prior to that CWRU defeated then-No. 7 Washington on February 1, 2015, and Rochester during the 2013 season when the Yellowjackets were sixth in the poll.

Prior to Sunday's game against Emory, the men's basketball team celebrated its three senior members: Khela, Hollis, and guard Sam Hansen, who each played in their final career games at Horsburgh Gymnasium.

CWRU finishes the season with a trip to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to face Carnegie Mellon on Saturday, February 29. Tipoff is scheduled for 4 p.m.