Special to The Sun
EMPORIA, Kan. —
Josh Gibbs and Spencer Smith scored four points apiece in a late-game rally that put Central Oklahoma in front and the Bronchos squeezed past Emporia State 77-71 here Sunday afternoon at White Auditorium.
UCO trailed 61-57 with 7:21 left to play before Gibbs and Smith made back-to-back layups to tie it by the 6:19 mark. Smith hit two free throws after rebounding an ESU miss at 5:26 to give the Bronchos the lead for good, with Gibbs doing the same 30 seconds later to make it 65-61.
Josh Davis answered a Hornet 3-pointer with one of his own at 4:12 to keep UCO in front by four and the Bronchos hit 7-of-10 free throws over the final 1:18 to stay safely in front.
UCO ended a two-game Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association losing streak with the win, improving to 7-10 overall and 5-4 in the league. The Hornets fell to 8-8 and 3-5.
“That was another big conference win for us on the road,” said head coach Terry Evans, whose team is now 4-1 in MIAA away games. “We didn’t panic when we got down in the second half and did a great job coming back. We made a lot of big plays on both ends of the floor in the last seven minutes.”
Gibbs led the Bronchos, hitting 7-of-11 shots with three 3-pointers and 8-of-10 foul shots in scoring a game-high 25 points while adding a game-best nine rebounds and five assists.
Cal Andrews had 16 points with four treys, Smith scored 12 of his 15 points in the second half and Jamell Cormier chipped in 12 points and four assists.
UCO led most of the early going and was up by five (24-19) after a Cormier layup at the 8:18 mark, but the Hornets responded with a 12-3 run to take a 31-27 lead and was up 35-32 at the break.
ESU pushed its advantage to nine (55-46) with 11:16 left to play, but Andrews bombed in three straight 3-pointers in a 59-second span to pull UCO even and it was close the rest of the way.
The Bronchos continue their three-game league road trip Wednesday, traveling to Hays, Kan. To take on Fort Hays State.
UCO women fall to Emporia
A two-point lead turned into a 20-point deficit during the final 10 minutes of the first half and Central Oklahoma went on to drop an 89-57 Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association decision to Emporia State here Sunday afternoon.
The Bronchos nailed their first three 3-point shots of the game in jumping out to an early 9-2 lead and were up 20-18 midway through the opening half before the game turned.
UCO hit just 3-of-16 shots and committed three turnovers as the Hornets ended the half with a devastating 31-9 run to grab a big 49-29 lead at the break and the Bronchos got no closer than 17 in the final 20 minutes.
It was the seventh straight loss for UCO – the longest since an 11-game skid in 2003-04 – and dropped the Bronchos to 8-9 on the year and 1-8 in league play. ESU improved to 10-6 and 5-3 with their third straight win.
UCO made only 19-of-56 shots (33.9 percent) for the game, including 7-of-22 (31.8 percent) from 3-point range. The Hornets also held a huge 49-26 rebounding advantage, grabbing 19 boards on the offensive end.
McKenzie Solberg made 5-of-7 shots with a 3-pointer and added 3-of-4 free throws to lead the Bronchos with 14 points. Alyssa Fuxa added 11 points and a team-high six rebounds.
Britney Morgan made two 3-pointers and Jill Bryan one in the first three minutes of the game to stake UCO to a quick 9-2 lead and it was an 11-4 edge after two Fuxa free throws at the 15:37 mark.
The Hornets came back with seven unanswered points to tie it at 11-all and the teams traded leads, with UCO’s last advantage coming after a Solberg trey made it 20-18 at 10:04.
ESU regained the lead for good with a 3-pointer of its own 30 seconds later and soon started to pull away.
The Bronchos continue a three-game conference road swing Wednesday at Fort Hays State.