Men’s basketball: Bronchos Win Big Against Emporia State

Men’s basketball: Bronchos Win Big Against Emporia State

The Bronchos defeated Emporia State 90-64 Thursday night.

The University of Central Oklahoma’s men’s basketball team takes the tip-off in the game against Emporia State on Jan. 12, 2017 at Hamilton Fieldhouse in Edmond, Okla. The Bronchos won the game 90-64. (Ryan Naeve/ The Vista). 

The UCO men’s basketball team (9-5, 4-2) hosted Emporia State (7-7, 3-2) at Hamilton Field House on Thursday night. The Bronchos came into the game looking to get back on the right page, after a tough loss to Lindenwood on Saturday, 67-65.

“We just need to get back on the winning track,”said by UCO men’s head coach Tom Hankins.

A sluggish start by both teams knotted the score at 4-4, but UCO picked up the pace in the next minute. The team went on a 6-0 run, sparked by Jake Hammond, who scored 6 points in the paint during the first five minutes.

“That’s kind of our bread and butter. Our strength is our inside game,” said Hankins

At the 15:21 mark, officials stopped play to review a foul call, which was overturned.  When play resumed, Josh Holliday immediately sunk a three-pointer, extending UCO’s lead to 15-7. Emporia State then took a timeout with 14:51 remaining in first half.

After the timeout, both teams struggled to score when Marquis Johnson hit a three and extended the Bronchos’ lead to 20-11 with 11:51 left. At the 10-minute mark, UCO kept its nine-point lead with a score of 23-14.

The Hornets switched to a full-court, man-to-man defense with under 10 minutes until halftime.

The Bronchos stayed strong, maintaining their lead and avoiding turnovers. Johnson then hit a three-pointer at 6:19 to widen UCO’s lead to 38-24.

At the next timeout, UCO’s lead had increased to 40-25 with under 5 minutes left in the first half.

Corbin Byford had the game’s first dunk, then followed it by finishing an alley-oop play, bringing the score to 46-29 with 1:54 left in the first half.

The Bronchos finished the first half with a 50-37 lead.

UCO had three players scoring double digits in the first half, including Holliday with 10, Johnson with 12, and Hammond also with 12.

The Bronchos shot 51 percent from the field in the first half while Emporia State shot 36 percent.

Corey Alpough would help set the tone of the second half for the Bronchos, scoring an easy transition dunk.

Hammond began the second half with a couple of big baskets, including a three-pointer, but Emporia State started chipping away at the lead, cutting it to 57-47.

“I thought they may make a push, but we did pick it up defensively there and I think that’s probably the best time where we strung together multiple stops defensively and helped us extend that lead,” said Hankins

UCO’S Holliday hit a three-pointer with the shot clock winding down with 14:30 left, making the lead 60-47.

In the next four minutes, the game slowed with both teams combining to score 8 points, taking the score to 63-52.

Emporia State switched to a 2-3 zone defense, which prompted UCO to slow the pace and take advantage of the shot clock.

The Hornets committed their seventh foul at 7:45, putting the Bronchos in the bonus for the remainder of the game. UCO would capitalize on it with Jordan London sinking both of his free throws then, on the following possession, Byford would come up with a huge monster jam.

Emporia State called a timeout with 6:58 left and the score at 69-52.

Coming out of the timeout, Emporia State switched things up on defense and began trapping the ball.

UCO stayed composed, even extending there lead to 75-57, after Holliday converted on an alley-oop. Emporia State went back to the press at the 4-minute mark, which UCO immediately broke, leading to Alpough converting on a one-and-one.

The Bronchos lead grew even larger, winning the game 90-64.

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