Rouse-ing performance turned in by freshman

The school’s previous scoring record of 48 points was held by Robert Hennigan, who also holds Emerson’s career-point record with 2,196.,The Piano Row gymnasium radiated with energy Saturday as the Emerson men’s basketball team defeated the Daniel Webster College Eagles, 107-74. The squad was led by Bryan Rouse, who dropped 56 points, breaking Emerson’s single-game scoring record.

The school’s previous scoring record of 48 points was held by Robert Hennigan, who also holds Emerson’s career-point record with 2,196.

With a spirited mascot and a pep band courtesy of Berklee School of Music, the “Lion’s Den” was once again packed with fans eager to cheer on the team.

Both teams played passionately throughout the first half, but it was clear the Eagles were no match for the Lions and Rouse’s offensive output. At halftime, Emerson led Daniel Webster 52-38; Rouse single-handedly had netted 36 points.

The energy was apparent as the team emerged from the locker room to “Roll Out” by Ludacris after halftime, and it was immediately clear the Lions would not let up during the second half. One minute into the half, Rouse had equaled Daniel Webster’s team score and had a chance to surpass the Eagles total as he was fouled with 18:33 left. He missed both free-throw shots.

Rouse once again equaled the Eagles’ point total with 16:00 left, bringing his own total to 40 and the score to 60-40.

He surpassed the Eagles on the next possession, bringing the score to 62-40.

After a Daniel Webster basket at 14:59, Rouse scored again on his own rebound. His own tally reached 44 and the score came to 64-42; the Eagles promptly called a time-out to cool the Lions’ hot streak.

With 12:39 left in the half, Daniel Webster fouled Emerson, which put the Eagles over the foul limit with nine; the Lions only had three.

Rouse hit the 50-point mark with a lay-up at 9:37 left, putting Emerson up 83-55.

Rouse said he was so enthralled in the game that he barely noticed how many points he had scored.

“I wasn’t all that aware of what was going on,” Rouse said. “At around 50 points, when the crowd started to get a little crazy, that’s when I think I knew.”

The crowd began to debate how many points Rouse could tally up. The high school team of junior captain and forward Ben Chase’s alma mater, Newburyport High School, was in the crowd, and their coach said whoever could guess how many Rouse would finish with could miss practice on Monday.

A visibly exhausted Rouse continued to play hard. With 7:34 left in the half and a teammate shooting free throws, Rouse retreated to the back court with his hands on his knees, panting. Head Coach Hank Smith yelled from the bench, “Rouse, tuck your shirt in!”

Rouse left his shirt untucked, blocked a shot, and followed up with a lay-up, bringing the score to 94-60. Rouse continued to push himself, and as Chase and co-captain junior guard Will Dawkins came out of the game at 6:35, many wondered how long Rouse would stay in.

A tired Rouse was finally removed with 5:03 left in the game, after piling up 56 points and 11 rebounds to go with a shooting percentage of 77 percent. Rouse was greeted with a standing ovation from his team and the ecstatic crowd as he headed to the bench.

“It was shocking afterward,” a modest Rouse said. “But they put the ball where it needed to be for me, so it just happened.”

With Rouse out of the game, the final three minutes were without suspense as play slowed, and the Lions finally ended their impressive offensive display after outscoring the Eagles 55-36 in the second half and shooting for 60 percent.

“The way we play, the style that we have, that’s what we do. We will continue to play that way all year,” Smith said. “Rouse is the guy inside, and if we run our offense correctly, it’s very hard for our opponent to cover him. He’s the go-to guy.”

Rouse is no stranger when it comes to racking up the points. He once scored 48 points in a half during his time as a high school player.

“I knew I wanted to major in marketing, and I looked at a lot of big schools,” Rouse said. “Emerson recruited me, and it’s a great school academically, so it all worked out.”

Dawkins came closer to reaching 1,000 career points, Hendricks contributed 18 points, and Chase had 12 points and 3 steals in the victory. The Lions are now 5-4 and extended their home court winning streak to four games. The season will continue Jan. 9 with a game against Rivier College.