Lincoln loses in double overtime

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Josh Hall reports

Despite trailing by 10 with 1:44 left to play, Lincoln men’s basketball coach John Redmond still thought his team had a chance to win.

The Blue Tigers came painfully close.

After tying the game at 83 at the end of regulation, Lincoln faulterd down the stretch as Emporia State claimed a 104-97 win in double overtime in a Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association game Saturday night at Jason Gym.

“I liked the way the kids played, but people have to step up under pressure,” Redmond said. “It’s a tough loss. It was our ball game.”

The Blue Tigers (2-11, 0-5) jumped out to a 95-91 lead early in the second overtime, but Terrence Sardin threw down a dunk after a missed shot to give Emporia State (9-5, 2-2) a 99-97 lead with a minute left to play.

Lincoln turned the ball over on the next possession and Michah Swank drained a 3 with 33 seconds left to put the game away.

“I don’t understand why we can’t come down to the wire and do the right thing,” Redmond said. “We played good enough to win. I guess that’s what’s the frustrating part.”

James Edmond scored 24 points, Mike Smith added 23, and Josh Buie chipped in 20 to lead the Blue Tigers, who were 30-of-74 40.5 percent) from the field.

Lincoln trailed 78-68 with 1:44 left in regulation, but the Blue Tigers went on a 9-1 run to pull within two with 25 seconds to play.

Emporia State’s Kaleb Wright hit a pair of free throws to give the Hornets a four-point lead, but Buie immediately converted on a three-point play to bring the Blue Tigers within one with 24 seconds remaining.

Wright hit another pair of free throws to give Emporia State an 83-80 lead with 17 seconds left, but Lincoln wouldn’t go down quietly.

The Blue Tigers missed their first two 3-point attempts, but grabbed two offensive rebounds to set up a last second 3 by Robert Hopkins to send the game to overtime.

“I thought we were a good enough shooting team that we could come back,” Redmond said. “I also thought (Emporia State was) getting a little tight. When we were making our run, they weren’t shooting the ball as well.”

Lincoln had a 90-86 lead with 29 seconds left in the first overtime, but Emporia State tied the game at the buzzer after missing its first two attempts in the paint.

“The offensive rebounds in overtime broke our back,” Redmond said. “The offensive rebounds that they got beat us. That was crucial.”

Lincoln and Emporia State traded leads six times to open up the game, before the Hornets went on a 13-4 run to take a 23-15 advantage with 9:15 left in the first half.

The Hornets then went on a 12-2 surge to take a 12-point lead with 4:14 to play in the half, before taking a 36-26 advantage into the locker room.

“It’s the fundamental things that we don’t do,” Redmond said. “Every time we let up, something bad happens.”

Buie and Smith combined to score 10 points in a two-minute stretch to bring the Blue Tigers within one with 13:27 left in the second half.

Emporia State quickly recovered and led 75-64 with 2:22 left to play.

Wright scored a game-high 27 points to lead the Hornets, who had five players score in double figures.

Lincoln hosts Pittsburg State on Monday.

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