Wednesday, November 8, 2006
When a basketball team has nothing to lose in the present, it's pointless to be concerned with the future.
Nowhere was that more evident for Emporia State than the foul column, where the Hornets' two starting forwards hacked themselves right out of the game 30 minutes into the 90-55 Kansas University exhibition basketball victory Tuesday night.
Both had three fouls at halftime. Both kept playing. And both left amid the traditional waving of the wheat at Allen Fieldhouse with plenty of time left on the clock.
When the Hornets found themselves in a game they probably should've been out of - down just 41-37 at halftime - the foul column might as well have been missing. It didn't matter.
Play for the moment when the moment's there for you.
"It was just go, play as hard as you can while you're out there," forward Jordan Fithian said. "He wanted to leave us out there and try to keep us playing smart with fouls. We did that for a while."
Fithian and Caleb Tegtmeier, both humorously undersized forwards at 6-foot-6 and 6-5, eventually tried everything to keep KU's Darrell Arthur (6-9), Darnell Jackson (6-9) and Julian Wright (6-8) contained.
By the time both were disqualified midway through the second half, though, the Kansas rout already was under way. The Hornets were outscored 49-18 after halftime.
"I think we might have amazed ourselves," said DeAndre Townsend, who led the Hornets with 18 points and seven rebounds. "Them dudes' some big boys. We ain't used to taking those kind of hits.
"We have big guys, too. But they've got some horses."
Like everybody else in the barn, ESU coach Dave Moe saw two teams play two ways in the two halves. And considering his team struggled in the second one, he had trouble thinking of anything positive in the earlier one.
"If our individuals don't make each other better, we are not going to be a good team against anybody," Moe said. "We don't have the most talent. But what we do have is a very coachable group that knows how to play the way I want to coach. When they play together, they can have success."
Scoreboard aside, the game meant a little more to several members of Emporia State's team. Eight hail from the state of Kansas, and another, freshman Dustin Andrews, is from nearby Lee's Summit, Mo.
All were familiar with the great ones who have played at Allen Fieldhouse. Heck, even the Hornets from far away cherished the opportunity.
"Anybody that plays here will remember it," said Ed Desir, a native of St. Lucia in the Caribbean. "Regardless of who you are, where you come from, you'll always remember a place like this."