Saturday, December 11, 2010

Mules rally from behind for win over Hornets, 68-66

(Warrensburg, Mo.) – The Central Missouri Mules snapped a two-game MIAA skid on Saturday night with a come-from-behind win over Emporia State in the final minute, 68-66. Boo Hunter drew a foul driving the lane and hit two free throws with seven seconds remaining to break the tie and give the Mules a win. Central Missouri led for a total of 47 seconds the entire night.
          
The Mules (6-3, 1-2 MIAA) were chasing the Hornets (6-3, 3-1 MIAA) for most of the first half, thanks to lights out shooting. ESU drilled 62.5 percent in the period, with 16 points in the paint and 6-of-9 three-pointers. The Hornets broke an 8-8 tie early in the contest, going on a 9-2 run to make it a seven-point advantage. They would go up by nine with 10:47 to play on a layup by Adam Holthaus, who had a big half.
          
Senior guard Ryan Harris kept the Mules in it though. He scored 22 points on 9-of-12 shooting, including four threes. The Hornets never got more than nine ahead, thanks in part to Harris, who answered them each time. Eight consecutive points by Harris cut it to three, before Hunter would cut it to just one later in the half with 1:43 left on the clock on a couple free throws.
          
Holthaus hit a layup with 1:12 left to give the Hornets a 40-37 halftime advantage. ESU outscored the Mules by 12 in the paint, but was out-rebounded 19-12. The Mules hit 40.0 percent in the half.
          
The final period saw the Hornets keep that lead, stretching it to nine on several occasions. Forward Michael Tyler hit a layup with 8:24 left to make it 58-49, but UCM would start to chip away from there.
          
A Bryce Brunz layup with 4:38 left cut it to one, but the Hornets answered with a three from Jarvis Nichols to push it back to four. Brunz came back down the floor and hit another three to cut it back to one with 3:37 remaining, and a free throw from Joel Barkers at the 2:05 mark tied it at 62.
          
The Hornets hit a couple free throws with 1:28 remaining to get the lead back, before Hunter took over, scoring the Mules’ final six points. He started with a layup to tie it at 64 with 1:20 left, then drove the lane after a UCM stop to draw the foul and give them their first lead since the 18:23 mark of the first half, with only 39 seconds remaining.

A Holthaus jumper with 14 seconds tied it again, but Hunter drew the final foul with seven seconds remaining. Tyler put up a guarded three that missed long as time expired.

Harris finished with his 22 points (all in the first half), while Hunter tallied 16 and Brunz had 14 (12 in the second half). Joel Barkers led all rebounders with eight.

Central Missouri out-rebounded Emporia State by a 39-31 margin, including 15 on the offensive glass. The Mules shot only 35.7 percent in the game, but got to the free throw line to hit 21-of-28, while ESU was 7-of-11. ESU hit 48.1 percent from the field for the game, but only 35.7 percent in the second period.

The Mules hit the road on Wednesday for their first battle with Lincoln University as an MIAA opponent since 1999. Tip off from Jason Gymnasium is set for 7:30 p.m.

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