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Hillcats Rally For Key MIAA Victory Over Emporia State

Rogers State men’s basketball pulled off a come-from-behind victory over Emporia State Saturday afternoon, winning 78-68 at White Auditorium.

Senior Devin Pullum completed a 9-0 run in just 92 seconds to rally the Hillcats (7-9, 7-9 MIAA) and give Rogers State it’s first lead of the game over Emporia State (8-8, 8-8 MIAA) and one it wouldn’t relinquish.

How It Happened: Emporia State scored the first four points of the game and led for the entire first half, although the Hillcats battled the hosts and spent the majority of the first half within two possessions.

Following a 6-2 start for the Hornets, Rogers State worked the game back to one point with a three pointer from Darraja Parnell. A few minutes later, a Ricardo Lynch three pointer would bring the Hillcats to within one point again.

Just passed midway through the first half, Emporia would open up a 19-12 lead with an 8-2 run. After a basket from Parnell, Emporia opened up its largest lead of the game with a three pointer to extend its advantage to 22-14.

Rogers State responded with eight of the next 11 points, cutting the deficit to one after three pointers from Jett Sternberger and Christopher Harris, along with a jumper from Pullum.

After five points from the Hornets, Rogers State closed the half on a 6-0 run to enter the break trailing by just two at 30-28.

Early in the second half, Emporia opened up a three-point advantage at 34-31, but it would be the last lead of the game for the Hornets.

Devin Pullum tied the game at 17:54 with a three-point play on a jumper and a free throw following a foul. On the next two possessions, Pullum hit back-to-back three pointers to give Rogers State its first lead.

After a free throw from the Hornets, Pullum would make another jumper, completing an 11-1 Pullum run in just 2:05.

Emporia State would make a run over the next five minutes, cutting the Hillcat lead to just one at 50-49, but Rogers State responded with a 18-2 run that started with a Parnell layup, followed by three pointers from Sternberger and Brewster Peacock, on three-consecutive trips down the floor. The run gave Rogers State a 68-53 inside six minutes remaining.

A few minutes later, two more three pointers from Peacock and Sternberger gave Rogers State it’s largest lead of the game at 74-57 and the Hillcats remained ahead by double digits the remainder of the way.

Key Statistic: Rogers State shot 63 percent from the floor and 64 percent from three-point range, including seven three pointers, in the second half. Emporia State was 46 percent from the floor in the second half, but just 27 percent from three-point range.

Players of Note: Pullum tied for the team high with 21 points on 7-for-12 shooting, including a pair of three pointers. Pullum also had a pair of rebounds and two assists.

Sternberger also had 21 points on 5-for-8 shooting. Sternberger had a team high four three pointers and also had a pair of rebounds and an assist.

Parnell finished with 13 points after a near perfect day from the floor, going 5-for-6 and 1-for-2 from three-point range. He also had a team high four assists, two steals and a block. Parnell also had three rebounds.

Peacock also finished in double figures and nearly had a double-double, finishing with 12 points and nine rebounds. Peacock also dished out three assists.

Notes from the Game: The victory also snapped a four-game losing skid for the Hillcats, who now sit just

Just one game out of the eighth and final seed for the MIAA Tournament with three weeks to go.

Rogers State completed a season sweep over Emporia State and extended its win streak over the Hornets to four games, including two games at White Auditorium.

Emporia State won the rebounding battle 31-27 and held the Hillcats to just three offensive rebounds and zero second-chance points.

Rogers State won the turnover battle 13-11, but the Hornets scored 17 points off of 11 Rogers State turnovers while the Hillcats had just eight points off 13 turnovers from the hosts.

Up Next: The Hillcats return home for the first of three-straight games at the Claremore Expo Center to close the home schedule for 2020-21. The Hillcats will welcome in Fort Hays State on Thursday for the first of those games and are set to tip off with the Tigers at 7:30 p.m.

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