The Emporia State Hornets men’s basketball team played the Braves of Ottawa Tuesday in what would be the home opener for the Hornets. After a sluggish start, the Hornets were able to pull away for an 85-66 win.
“We started out the game just playing basketball,” said Head Coach David Moe. “Ottawa did a great job making shots, and then we had to get tougher defensively and make it tougher for them to get shots, and I thought that happened.”
Although the Hornets were able to bolt out to a fast 7-0 lead in the first half, neither team was able to gain ground by halftime.
With less than three minutes left, the Braves took a six point lead after back to back threes. The Hornets, however, answered back with an 8-2 run, ending the half on a Robert Moores’s three with just eight seconds remaining.
“Coach Moe was telling us defensively we need to intensify our aggressiveness,” Moores said. “One thing we’re lacking is our aggressiveness on defense. As the game went we progressed and actually jumped out to a good lead.”
In the second half, it was the Braves who shot out of the gate with a 47-41 lead. The Hornet’s ability to get to the line again paid off however as they retook the lead 55-52 with 14:56 left in the game.
What may have been a momentum shifting play in the game came on a steal by Xavier Burnette in the open court that led to a one handed slam giving the Hornets a 60 to 56 lead with 12:07 left in the game.
“I try to get that done every game,” Burnette said. “It gives us energy. It gives me energy to play hard on the defensive end. I just want to do what I can to bring the team energy.”
The Hornets would mount a big lead after the play as they went on to win the game 85-66. For Emporia State, their ability to get to the free throw line highlighted the game as they shot a total of 32 free throws.
“We do a good job of getting to the line for the most part,” Moe said. “Tonight we did a better job of attacking, getting to the rim and attacking the paint and looking inside out.”
For the game, Burnette led all scorers with 20 points. Adam Holthaus, Moores, and Christian Jackson were able to tap into double figures as well for the Hornets.
The Hornets improve to 1-2 on the season and will face Bethany in their next home contest at 7 p.m. on Nov. 22.