Jump out early and struggle to close out games – that has been the formula for almost every loss the Hornets basketball team have taken this season. The Northeastern State game was no different, as they suffered a 67-63 loss to during alumni weekend.
“We just want to keep the tradition any time we get a chance to play for the guys who paved the way for us,” said Chris Sights, senior guard, “and today we just came up a little short.”
From the start, the Hornets looked inside to Paul Bunch, junior center, who scored six of the first eight points as they gained to an 8-5 start.
As the ball drifted out of Bunch’s hands, the Hornets began to slip away on the scoreboard. After being down by as much as six points, the Hornets regained the lead with a corner three-pointer by Gavin Brown, junior forward, just before the half, 33-32.
The RiverHawks swept the lead in the second half after an early run, but the Hornets hung on. Terrence Moore, freshman guard, became the go-to guy and regained a 53-51 Hornet lead with 7:54 to go.
“I had to step up,” Moore said. “(It was) just players making plays – (being a) freshman doesn’t mean anything. It’s just making plays.”
The RiverHawks controlled the rest of the game with some clutch free throws to seal the deal. As the leading free-throw shooting team in the league, they shot over 90 percent for the game.
“When you have a chance to finish off a team and don’t, it’s frustrating,” said Shaun Vandiver, head coach. “When things got tough we fractured; we didn’t stick together.”
Moore finished with 13 points. Bunch scored 12 inside to add to his seven rebounds and seven blocks. Brown scored 11 points.
“We got guys on our team that just sit back and wait – we can’t do that. We (have) got to show up,” Vandiver said.