Hornets victorious in Turnpike Tussle
When Emporia State and Washburn have their annual showdown in Emporia, White Auditorium can get pretty loud, and it did Saturday night Feb. 23 when the ESU men put it to Washburn, 88-76.
In a game that would have its ups and downs for the Hornets, it was the perfect start for the seniors who would play their last regular season home game in White Auditorium. Seniors Gavin Brown, Kaleb Wright and Paul Bunch scored the first eight points for the Hornets, as ESU would jump out to a 13-2 start before Bob Chipman, head Washburn coach, called a timeout.
The Hornets kept the Ichabods at an arm’s length for the majority of the first half before the Bods would make a 7-2 mini-run in the last three minutes of the first half. A the half, the Hornets were 13-15 from the free-throw line and had a whopping 15-second points, most of those put in by Bunch, a senior center.
“To come out and play big in front of your family and friends, it’s always a good feeling especially against your rival,” Bunch, a criminal justice and delinquencies major said.
The start to the second half was almost identical to that of the first. A 9-2 Hornet run would again force WU to use a timeout. For most of the second half, it was at an eight to 10 point margin but from 11:32 to 9:52, Bods scored seven unanswered points and cut the lead from 10 to three. But over the next four minutes, the Hornets would cease control and go on an 11-3 run making it 76-65. The Hornets then cruised to an 88-76 final score.
Wright finished with his third 30-point game this season to go along with six rebounds, one assist and one steal.
“That’s a good team we just beat, but I feel like that’s behind us right now and the game against Pitt State is the momentum game – that guarantees us home court and that’s the game that’s going to carry us into the first round so to win that one will be great for us,” Wright, a health promotions major, said.
Shaun Vandiver, head coach, notched his second home court win in three years over Washburn but was quick to remind everyone that his team still has one game remaining.
“I love every one of my players and I love all of those seniors in different ways and I don’t want to stop coaching them, I want to take this ride as far as we can take it,” Vandiver said. I thought we kept composure and kept attacking the rim…when we did switch defenses, I thought we were locked in and focused.”
The Hornets the lost home court advantage in the post-season when they fell to Pittsburg State in last night’s regular season game.
Even though the Hornets had a four-point lead at the break, Pitt would outscore the Hornets by 12 to take the game 84-76. Post season games will be posted in the next few days.