RiverHawks basketball closes out regular season with four home games
TNE Editor

RiverHawks basketball closes out regular season with four home games

Published 2/8/18

 

Jesse Crittenden

TNE Writer

The magic number is 12.

That is the number the RiverHawks basketball teams are looking for as they head into the home stretch of the season. Twelfth is the place both teams must finish in the MIAA conference standings to earn a spot in the postseason for the MIAA conference tournament.

As of Feb. 1, the women’s team sits at 10th in the MIAA standings with an overall record of 9-11 and a conference record of 5-8. The men’s team sits at 12th in the standings with an overall record 7-15 and a conference record of 3-10.

The good news for the RiverHawks is that they finish the regular season with four of their last six games at the NSU Event Center. Mark Downey, NSU men’s basketball head coach, noted it will play a significant role for the team.

“Having four at home is big,” said Downey. “You get to go to class, sleep in your own bed and get some rest. Everybody hurts and everybody has injuries. That’s what makes these the dog days of the regular season. Having most of them at home is huge for us.”

The remaining games are a mixed bag for the RiverHawks. They start the schedule with home games against Fort Hays on Feb. 8 and then Nebraska-Kearney on Feb. 10. Then, they go out on the road the following week for rematches with both of these teams.

For the men’s side, Fort Hays currently sits at No. 6 in the MIAA standings, while Nebraska-Kearney sits at No. 7. The women’s side is more difficult, as Fort Hays sits at No. 3 with an 18-3 record and Nebraska-Kearney sits at No. 4 with an 18-4 record.

“Nothing is going to be easy,” said Fala Bullock, NSU women’s basketball head coach. “We know we’re going to have to work hard to get to where we want to be.”

The RiverHawks will return from their road trip to play their final two regular season games against Emporia State on Feb. 22 and Washburn on Feb. 24. Emporia State currently sits at No. 13 on the men’s side and No. 5 on the women’s side, with Washburn sitting at No. 2 in men’s and No. 8 in women’s.

For the men’s team, the goal is to win every remaining home game. Their matchup with Emporia State, who currently sits out of the playoff standings and one spot behind the RiverHawks, will be a crucial game for the RiverHawks.

“Hopefully we will finish strong,” said Downey. “We’ve won four of our last seven games, and we need to probably win four of our last six games to ensure a spot in the playoffs. Our two goals are to finish with double digit wins and to make the MIAA tournament.”

The women’s team sits more comfortably in the standings but faces a tougher schedule. Three of the remaining four teams they face currently sit in the top five of the MIAA standings.

“We know we have a tough stretch ahead of us,” said Heidi Messer, NSU women’s basketball assistant coach. “But we’re confident we can finish strong and secure a spot in the tournament.”

The RiverHawks start their stretch against Fort Hays, with the women’s matchup slated for 5:30 p.m. and the men’s following at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 8 at the NSU Event Center. They play again against Nebraska-Kearney at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 10, also at the NSU Event Center.


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