EMPORIA (KSNT)- Emporia State men’s basketball is looking to build off a 2022-23 season which produced a win in the NCAA tournament for the first time in program history.

The Hornets return five of their top six scorers from last year, including more than 30 combined points per game from Owen Long and Alijah Comithier. They also added playmakers from the transfer portal.

“We added some key new pieces that have proven experience at the NCAA Division II level,” sixth-year ESU head men’s basketball coach Craig Doty said. “We like our team, I think everybody likes their team this time of year though. It’s just all about getting better every day and not being satisfied with where you’re at.”

Doty says players like Comithier and Long could have been concerned about how incoming transfers would impact their role, instead, they’ve embraced it.

“While that might mean their shots could go down a little bit, in terms of their number of attempts, they’re not concerned about that,” Doty said. “They’re all about winning. The attitude, the effort, the buy-in has been top notch across the board for us.”

“Since we have more overall talent I think we’ve been working more on like driving and kicking, just fundamentals of offense, playing together more,” ESU senior guard Owen Long said. “We have more talent so we can share the ball more.”

ESU has an exhibition match at K-State scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 1. The Hornets open the regular season against UNC Pembroke on Saturday, Nov. 4.