Pulling away in the final five minutes of the game, the Emporia State men’s basketball team won their home opener Wednesday night, 74-60, against the Tigers of Central Christian College.
“It was a game of runs. I don’t think we came out and played our best ball,” said Head Coach Shaun Vandiver. “We can’t come on and put it on in two or three minute spurts – you have to come out and turn it on. You got to have long runs to knock people out.”
Kaleb Wright, junior guard and physical education major, led the team in the first half with 14 points, five rebounds and three assists. Chris Sights, senior guard, added five points, four assists and two rebounds to help the Hornets gain a 36-23 lead at the half. The Hornets dominated Central Christian on the board, out-rebounding them 23-10 in the first half.
“Defensively, our guards get caught up in standing around watching the ball, and we forget that we have to help the bigs like the bigs help us,” Wright said.
The second half started off slow with neither team scoring in the first few minutes. Fouls became an issue for the Hornets, racking up four in the first four minutes compared to the Tigers’ one.
Following the Lady Hornets’ 16th home opening win the previous night, the men were able to pull out their 14th home opening win, shooting almost 50 percent from the field. Daniel Shaw, forward and sophomore economics major, added 13 points with three rebounds, making 5-5 from the free throw line.
“We had a game last week and we needed to work on our free throws after that, so we have been doing a lot of free throws,” Shaw said. “We just need to keep working on what we have been doing and work on defensive principals. The defense is what keeps fueling us.”
Wright also made three shots beyond the arc, helping the Hornets finally get a confortable lead in the last five minutes. Wright was player of the game.
“I have to tip my hat to my team – they trusted me with the ball,” Wright said.
The Hornets travel to Monmouth, Ore. this weekend to take on Saint Martins University and Western Oregon State University.