HAYS — Emporia State was held to its lowest point total since 2017 in a 56-46 loss at Fort Hays State on Wednesday night.
The Hornets were playing without two regular starters in Brenden Van Dyke and Justin Williams, but still got out to a good start and led 7-2 with 16:12 left in the first half.
The Tigers used a 13-3 run to take a 15-10 lead with 8:37 left in the half. Emporia State responded with a 9-0 run of its own and Devin Rottweiler’s putback with 5:26 remaining gave the Hornets a 19-15 lead.
Dallas Bailey hit a 3-pointer with 4:05 left to give Emporia State a 22-17 lead but that would be the last score of the half for the Hornets. Fort Hays State got a bucket from Devin Davis and a three from Aaron Nicholson to tie the score at 22 with 1:44 left. Neither team scored the rest of the way as the teams were knotted at 22 going to the locker rooms.
The Tigers scored the first 10 points of the second half to extend their run to 15-0 and led 32-22 with 15:48 left. Zac Owens finally scored for Emporia State with 15:12 left in the game to break an 8:53 scoring drought. Gage McGuire followed with a jumper in the paint and Owens grabbed a defensive rebound and went coast-to-coast to pull the Hornets within 32-29 with 12:00 left.
Emporia State then went on another four-plus minute scoring drought, as FHSU went on a 10-0 run to take a 42-29 lead. The Hornets had one more run as they outscored the Tigers 8-2 over the next four minutes and pulled within 44-37 with 5:21 left on Duncan Fort’s fast break 3-pointer. Nyjee Wright hit a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired to push the Tigers lead back to double digits with 4:48 left. Fort Hays hit six of six free throws in the final minute to ice the 56-46 win.
Duncan Fort and Zac Owens both scored 10 points to lead Emporia State. Devin Rottweiler led Emporia State with nine rebounds and added six points.
Emporia State will be back in action on Saturday when they travel to Neb.-Kearney. Tip-off from the Health & Sports Center is set for 4:00 p.m.
The 46 points are the fewest scored by the Hornets since a 65-43 loss to Northwest Missouri on February 8, 2017.