After a close loss Sunday against the Central Oklahoma Bronchos, 77-71, men’s basketball head coach Shaun Vandiver said he was “frustrated.”
“You go up nine (points), and you leave a guy like (Cal) Andrews open,” Vandiver said.
“That’s what happens with young guys – you get satisfied.”
From the start, the Bronchos had the upper hand. It wasn’t until there were only five minutes left in the first half that the Hornets took their first lead, thanks to Daniel Shaw, sophomore forward, who made a free-throw, boosting the score to 27-26.
Emporia State went in to the locker room at the half with a 35-32 lead, which was led by Chris Sights, senior guard, who had eight points in the first half.
A fourth consecutive victory seemed to be in reach, as the Hornets held off the Bronchos throughout the beginning of the second half. A tip-in by Paul Bunch, junior center, gave the Hornets the largest lead of the game of nine points.
That’s when Cal Andrews of Central Oklahoma nailed three three-pointers to tie the score, 55-55, with 10 minutes left in the game.
Just 20 seconds later, the Hornets regained the lead with a three-pointer by Sights, and after a layup by Terrence Moore, freshman guard, the Hornets found themselves up, 60-55, with nine minutes left to go.
But like most young teams, the Hornets struggled to finish. The Bronchos took the lead again with a little over five minutes left and never looked back.
“We always want to give our fans a good showing and win, but just mental breakdowns cost us,” Sights, a recreation major, said. “We do a great job of getting leads, but we got to finish,” said Sights, a recreation major.
Bunch, criminal justice and delinquencies major, said the Hornets’ biggest downfalls were “lack of communication, lack of energy and effort.”
“Our rotation on defense needs be crisper than that,” Bunch said.
Sights led the way for the Hornets with 16 points in the losing effort. Bunch led the Hornets with eight rebounds, and he also scored 14 points and had five blocks.
“Now, you have to dust yourself off,” Vandiver said.
The Hornets take on Northwest Missouri State at 3:30 p.m. Feb. 2 in Maryville, Mo.