The Bronchos grabbed a win this week and will advance to a second-round matchup against Central Missouri on Thursday.
Sophomore Josh Holliday tries to get past Emporia State players to make it to the basket at the UCO vs Emporia State Men’s Basketball Playoffs game at the Hamilton Field House on Monday, Feb. 27, 2017. (Elizabeth Roberts/ The Vista).
UCO’s Men’s Basketball defeated Emporia State 62-49 on Monday night at home, advancing to the second round of the MIAA Tournament.
“That was a very good win for us,” said UCO head coach Tom Hankins ” It’s a good confidence builder.”
Josh Holliday started the game strong scoring the first 4 points for the Bronchos. This gave them a 6-5 lead heading into the first media timeout at 15:49 remaining in the first half. After the media timeout, Cooper Clark hit a three-pointer on the first play.
Corbin Byford and Jake Hammond got into early foul trouble with 2 fouls each, sending them to the bench in the first ten minutes. This caused the Bronchos to lose the rebounding battle 21-11 in the first half with Byford and Hammond only playing a combined 10 minutes.
The Bronchos looked to sixth man Corey Alpough to make up for their absence, scoring 10 points off the bench.
“He was great,” Hankins said.
Holliday reclaimed the Broncho lead by hitting a contested corner three. He then started his own fast break the next UCO possession, finishing with a layup that forced Emporia State to call a timeout 17-13 with 9:32 left in the first half.
In the first half, the Hornets struggled mightily to keep the ball, committing 11 turnovers compared to UCO’s three.
Holliday hit another big three-pointer to continue his successful first half, which was followed up by a monster jam by Alpough. The Bronchos began to run away with their lead extending it to eight with under five minutes.
UCO’s lead rose to 11 points carrying them into halftime up 37-26. Holliday dominated the first half, scoring 14 points while shooting 4-6 from the field.
The first 3 minutes of the second half, started sloppy for UCO turning the ball over 3 times. The Hornets tried to capitalize on it, narrowing the lead to 8 points. But the Hornets fumbled their opportunity missing a layup and turning the ball over before the first media timeout of the second half , which brought the score to 41-31 with 15:12 left.
Before the second media timeout, Hammond finished at the rim over a swarm of Hornets for an and-one, hitting the free throw making it 48-35.
Emporia State began to chip away at the Bronchos lead hitting back-to-back threes and a contested layup cutting the lead to 48-43. UCO cooled down the run with Hammond and Holliday hitting free throws extending the lead to 52-43 with 7:30 left.
After a Byford miss, Hammond went flying over a Hornet defender throwing down a vicious put-back dunk making it 54-45. Emporia State tried to battle back, but blew an easy fast-break opportunity with Tyler Jordan missing a wide-open dunk and followed up with an air balled three-pointer.
“The crowd just fed off it,” said Hankins.
Alpough sent an Emporia State shot into the rafters with only 3:25 left in the game, which sent the UCO crowd into a frenzy.
“I thought it was a pretty good crowd,”said Hankins.
After the timeout, the Bronchos put their final stamp on the game with Marquis Johnson scoring two fast-break layups, which led the Broncho band to chant “warm up the bus,” in the final minute.
The Bronchos will head to Kansas City, Mo., for their second-round matchup against Central Missouri on Thursday.