EMPORIA, Kan. -- Christian Cook in his first career start dropped this second 20-point performance of the season but the RiverHawks closed off their MIAA road slate with a 97-72 defeat at Emporia State.
The freshman from Oklahoma City scored 23 points on 7-for-10 shooting and was 3-for-5 at the arc and played a team-high 33 minutes.
Wednesday's tilt was a makeup of a makeup with the weather causing a postponement of last week's meeting. The original contest was scrubbed due to COVID-19 and closed out a grueling stretch for the RiverHawks who have played four games in five days. Three of which were on the road.
"It's another learning experience for our team," said head coach Ja Havens. "The one thing you can do every night is defend and we talk about that. Believe it or not, we work on that in practice and it certainly won't have shown unfortunately and we are better than that. We've shown that we are better than that. You can't allow 56-percent from the field and give up 97 points."
"We just didn't have it defensively tonight, we didn't give ourselves an opportunity to have a chance to compete at this level. So that's a learning experience for us. I hope that you're going to have to guard every night to have a chance and we certainly weren't good enough on the defensive end tonight."
Brad Davis matched Cook in scoring and bested his season-high by one on 9-for-12 shooting. Rashad Perkins led the NSU bench with ten points.
Behind early heat from Cook who scored all 11 of his first-half points in the first initial five minutes of the game, the RiverHawks matched up well with the Hornets. However, ESU kept the scoring fury going through the opening 20 minutes, shooting a robust 61.1-percent from the field with three players in double-figures. Northeastern State left for the locker room trailing 52-34 its second-largest halftime deficit of the season.
In the second half, a cool start and five turnovers in the first six minutes allowed for Emporia to further extender their lead on the RiverHawks and never looked back en route to the season sweep.
Trey Sampson was limited to five points but matched his season-best with three blocks.
On the glass, NSU grabbed 24 matching their season-low mark of the season.
Emporia State climbed back to .500 (10-10, 10-10 MIAA) with the win and was led in scoring by Jumah'Ri Turner who had 20 points.
Northeastern State (4-17, 4-17 MIAA) will close out the season on Saturday with Rogers State visiting for Senior Day. Tip-off inside the NSU Event Center is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.
NOTABLES -- First time in 12 games that the RiverHawks played with a different starting lineup … Northeastern State had two players with 20+ point nights for the first time this season … The RiverHawks finished the regular season with a 2-9 mark on the road.