A 16-point second half comeback wouldn’t be enough for a Hornets victory as the Newman Jets slipped past Emporia State 80-77 Wednesday night. The Jets were spot on from behind the three point line throughout the entirety of the contest, hitting 15-24 to ESU’s 4-21.
ESU came out of the gates with the first four points of the contest. A couple of easy three-pointers led the Jets back into the game early, tying the contest at 10-10 with 14:31 left. Newman would take the lead after a timeout on the floor and extend their lead to three at the 12:15 mark.
However, the Hornets’ aggressive, slashing style of offense wouldn’t stay off the scoreboard for long, as junior guard Jordan Stout drove to the basket and made the contested layup despite the foul – the charity point was made, bringing the score to 13-13. Stout would again contribute for the Hornets with a three-pointer with just over 10:30 left in the half.
Another media timeout would pause the game with the Hornets leading 16-15. Newman would come out firing on all cylinders, scoring six straight points on their way to taking the lead, 21-16 – Moe would call timeout.
The Hornets would finally score on a turnover created by a designed trap play, which converted into a senior guard/forward Jeremiah Box tip-in off of a missed layup on the breakaway by senior point guard Tim Niles. Box would score again on a high-effort play, getting his own rebound on a missed shot and then laying it in underneath the basket for two, then again a layup by Box.
A media timeout would give a break in the action, with the Hornets trailing Newman, 26-22 with 4:41 left in the half.
After a Newman three-pointer, Niles would drive the lane and commit a charging foul, and then a technical foul for taunting. The Jets increased their lead to nine at 31-22 after the technical foul free throws.
Both teams would tighten up their defense for the rest of the half, seeing the half come to a close with a Newman lead, 37-26. Box led the Hornets in scoring at the half with 10 points.
A Newman three-pointer would start the second half, followed by a turnover by senior center Doug Moore. Senior guard Robert Moores would drive the basket, giving the Hornets an easy two, which was followed by another Newman trey. Box would hit another basket for the Hornets, which was followed by yet another three –pointer by the Jets, who were 9-14 from behind the arc at the 18:19 mark.
The Hornets would go on a spurt to close the Jets lead to 10 with the help of a great defensive effort and offensive output from Box, Moores, and junior guard Matt Boswell. A jumper by Newman forward Tommy Brumbelow would be followed by a traditional three point play by senior guard Dustin Andrews, which cut the Newman lead to nine, 48-39.
After trading points, a questionable flagrant foul was called on Andrews. After two missed free throws, the Hornets would score two from junior forward Adam Holthaus, narrowing the lead to seven at 50-43. Holthaus would score again after an injury timeout, this time with the help of a spin move on the low block. A timeout on the floor with 9:54 left in the contest would see the Jets commanding an 11 point lead over the Hornets, 61-49.
Stout would provide the only real outside threat for the Hornets, hitting a trey with just over 6:30 left to go in the half with Newman leading by 10, 68-58. After a Niles turnover, the Hornets would charge back with a bucket by Box, bringing the score to 72-64 in favor of Newman with 4:09 left in the half.
On the ensuing Jets possession, a moving screen violation was called, giving the Hornets the ball – the possession resulted in a layup by Niles and a subsequent timeout by Newman.
Andrews would hit a pivotal three-pointer with just over two minutes to play in the game, closing the Newman lead to three at 74-71. A Jets three-pointer would widen the gap, but on the following Hornets possession Niles would hit a three of his own, bringing the score to 77-74 with 1:30 left to play.
Another Jets trey saw the Hornets trailing by six, but Niles would strike again, this time with three consecutive free throw points off of a shooting foul from behind the arc. The Jets would fail to convert on the ensuing possession, but Niles would come up short with the final three-point attempt of the evening. The Hornets fell to Newman, with the final score 80-77.
Shooting from beyond the arc was a key to Newman’s victory, which proved a frustration point for the Hornets throughout the contest.
“We were frustrated pretty much the whole game,” Andrews said. “I don’t know how their shooters were getting open the entire game. They didn’t really score in the paint, they didn’t look to drive, they shot the three the entire game and they rarely missed. There towards the end we just have to buckle down, we have to get stops, and we didn’t do that.”
Stout said the team was aware of how well Newman could shoot the ball, but the team just couldn’t find their shot.
“We knew they could shoot the ball well,” Stout said. “Obviously you’re going to have some games when teams are hot
and some games when teams aren’t. We weren’t hot tonight and they were. That was obviously a big difference in the game.”
Head Coach David Moe laid most of the blame on himself for allowing the team to get down early.
“You have to start the game in a mode of competing,” Moe said. “We’re not well prepared at this point to be able to compete against good teams. I’ve got to do a lot better job of not allowing us to get into that situation.”
Box led the Hornets in scoring with 16, followed by Niles and Holthaus with 14 points each. Box also led in rebounding with seven.