SPRINGFIELD – The 17th ranked Drury Panthers improved to 5-0 with a 91-74 win over Emporia State on Friday afternoon at the O’Reilly Family Event Center in the Doubletree by Hilton / Houlihan’s Thanksgiving Classic.
Drury kept their record perfect improving to 5-0 while Emporia State dropped to 2-4.
The Panthers jumped out to a 20-2 lead early as Isaac Johnson opening the game on fire. The freshman from Springfield-Kickapoo hit six three-pointers in the game’s first seven minutes and finished with a game-high 31 points. Johnson hit eight three’s and went 10 for 16 from the field, 8 for 12 from three-point range and added eight rebounds and four assists.
Emporia State worked their way back in the game and pulled as close as five before Drury took a 37-30 lead at halftime.
“’Ice’ (Johnson) got hot from the start and those first three minutes were fun for everybody,” said Drury head coach Steve Hesser. “But we lost our defensive energy and Emporia State got back into the game. We’re still learning that’s it’s a 40-minute game.”
The Panthers quickly pushed their lead back to double-digits early in the second half and held off the Hornets the rest of the way outscoring them 54-44 after halftime.
Tevin Foster and Douglas Moore both added 12 points for the Panthers.
Brandon Hall led Emporia State with 17 points.
The Doubletree by Hilton / Houlihan’s Thanksgiving Classic continues tomorrow at the O’Reilly Family Event Center. Play begins at 1 p.m. when Missouri S&T takes on Emporia State, then the Panthers host Missouri Southern State at 3:15 p.m.