December 17, 2020-Playing without both starting guards in the second half, Emporia State cut an 18 point deficit down to one with a minute left before falling 82-78 to Lincoln on Thursday night in White Auditorium.
Playing their first game in 19 days due to COVID protocols, the Hornets fell behind 11-0 to start the game. During the run Emporia State’s Brenden Van Dyke was injured and did not return for the remainder of the half. The Hornets would use a 16-2 run of their own to take a 29-27 lead on a Jumah’Ri Turner jumper with 6:15 left in the half. The Blue Tigers would take a 40-31 lead with 1:38 left in the half. Nick Reid then hit one of two free throws with 1:04 left to cut the lead to eight.
With 37.2 seconds left there was a loose ball and Gage McGuire came away with a steal and called timeout. As he was getting up he was elbowed by Lincoln’s Sai Witt and the Hornets Dallas Bailey pushed him away. After a lengthy review both Witt and Bailey were assessed contact technical while Emporia State’s Jumah’Ri Turner and Austin Downing were determined to have left the bench area and were ejected. No one else scored the rest of the half as Emporia State trailed 40-32 going to the locker rooms.
Bailey scored the first points of the second half for Emporia State on a put back to cut the deficit to six points but Lincoln then went on another 11-0 run to take a 51-34 lead with 15:37 left in the game. Another 6-0 run gave the Blue Tigers their biggest lead of the night at 63-45 with 10:55 remaining. The game of runs continued as the Hornets answered with an 9-0 run of their own with Ben Smith scoring five and Marquis McCray contributing four. McCray’s two free throws with 8:37 left cut the deficit to nine at 63-54.
The Blue Tigers would extend the lead to 12 points on a Yaniel Vidal three-pointer to go up 76-54 with 4:59 left. McCray hit a jumper to cut the lead to single digits going into the final media timeout. Mayuom Buom scored out of the timeout to make it 76-69. McGuire hit one of two free throws with 3:16 left and Buom scored inside with 2:33 left to pull the Hornets within four at 76-72.
Duncan Fort nailed three-pointer with 1:19 left. Vidal answered with his fourth trey of the night to push the Blue Tigers lead back to four points. Bailey hit a three from the corner with 27.3 left to make it 79-78. Quinton Drayton hit the front end of a one and one for the Blue Tigers with 23 seconds left and McGuire grabbed the rebound. McCray drove the lane and missed layup only to see McGuire grab the rebound and got a pass out to Bailey who’s three-pointer rimmed out. Boum grabbed the rebound and his putback missed but Fort grabbed the rebound to give the Hornets one last chance. Bailey’s three pointer from the top of the key was a bit too hard and Mekhi Kimble grabbed the rebound for the Blue Tigers. He would hit two free throws with 0.7 seconds left for the final score of 82-78.
The Hornets will be right back in action on Friday night as they travel to Wichita State for an exhibition game against the Shockers. Tip-off from Koch Arena is set for 6:00 pm and will be available on ESPN+ in addition to the radio call on KFFX 104.9FM.