The Emporia State men’s basketball team punished the Ottawa Braves Saturday night, 101-57. The win snapped the Hornets’ three-game slide and marked the end of non-conference play.
Junior forward Adam Holthaus, who got the starting nod over senior center Doug Moore, scored the first points on the night on an easy dump pass into the post. The Hornets took a five point lead with over 16:30 to go with a play by senior guard Dustin Andrews, hustling down the court and making an easy layup and taking the score to 8-3.
At the first media timeout, ESU still held onto a small lead at 13-8 with 14:49 left in the half.
Freshman guard Taylor Euler hit a three-pointer with just over 10 minutes to play, giving the Hornets a 12 point advantage, 22-10. With seven minutes to go, Euler stole the ball and took it the distance, giving the Hornets an easy two – on the ensuing Braves possession, senior guard Tim Niles would do the same, which saw the Hornets lead increase to 20 at 34-14.
Prior to the final media timeout of the half, poor shooting and lackluster defense by Emporia State led to four straight points for the Braves and no points for the Hornets, which brought the score to 37-21 still in favor of ESU.
Euler hit another trey right out of the timeout, his third of the half, giving the Hornet lead even more of a cushion at 40-23 with just under four minutes to play.
The Braves, showing their ability to persevere, went on a 7-0 run and brought the score to 45-32 which was capped by an ESU timeout. Ottawa continued to show up on offense, hitting a contested jump shot off of an inbounds play with under a minute to play in the half.
The first half of the contest ended on a drive to the basket by Niles – Niles would come up short with the shot and the Hornets would go into the locker room with the lead, 46-34.
Holthaus, among others, was not pleased with the Hornets’ performance late in the half.
“We just had to sit back and play defense,” Holthaus said. “We weren’t playing good defense and we weren’t playing aggressive enough on the defensive end. Once we did that, the offense came.”
Holthaus also said that Head Coach David Moe was not too happy with the poor performance in the final minutes of the first half.
“He let us know that we weren’t being aggressive,” Holthaus said. “He told us that we had to come out and play hard.”
Euler said he would have liked to see more of a complete effort from the team.
“One of the things we talked about at halftime is that we just have to compete for 40 minutes,” Euler said. “We can’t back down. We can’t get punk’d…we have to come out strong, and we can’t back down from anybody. I thought that we kind of rested towards the end of the first half.”
Moe noted how important Ottawa’s late push was – and not just for the Braves.
“Ottawa got away with being physical and making a little run on us, and I though it was a great lesson for us coming in at halftime,” Moe said. “I thought the second half we got aggressive and we realized that you’ve got to respond in the right way, and we’re going to see that a lot in our league. I think it’s happened to us in the past, you know we probably backed down against Western (Missouri), and hopefully that’ll never happen again.”
To start the second half, Euler hit yet another three-pointer. Niles would also connect from beyond the arc, giving the Hornets a quick six points right out of the half.
Junior guard Matt Boswell became the third straight player for the Hornets to hit a three-pointer out of the half, sinking it with over 17:00 left in the half, which brought the score to 55-36 in favor of ESU.
With 13:33 left to play, Andrews drove to the basket and made the shot while also getting fouled – the charity point was made and the Hornets saw a definitive advantage at 68-42.
A timeout on the floor with 9:37 to go saw the Hornets command a 30-point lead over the Braves, 76-46. The rest of the contest was uneventful, with Emporia State increasing their lead to an astounding 44, as the game came to a close, 101-57.
Euler and Niles led the Hornets in scoring with 19 apiece, while four additional Hornets scored in double figures. Andrews led the team in rebounding with seven, and senior guard Jordan Stout added six assists.
After a nine day break for the holidays, the Hornets will be back in action against Truman. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Dec. 28 in Emporia.