The struggles continued for the Missouri Western 9-16 (4-13) menâ€™s basketball team as they lost 73-68 to the Truman State Bulldogs 5-19 (4-11). The Griffons lost for the ninth time in the last ten games.
The Griffons jumped out to an early 23-9 lead. The Griffons had a balanced attack early on as many players contributed. Head coach Tom Smith attributed the fast start to playing well offensively.
â€œWe shot the ball well early and we had some good possessions early,â€ Smith said.
The Griffons had lapse on the defensive end for the rest of the half as the Bulldogs ended the half on a 28-13 run. The run was capped by a 75-foot heave at the buzzer by Banks Estridge, which gave the Bulldogs a 37-36 lead heading into the half. Sophomore Reggie Bunch thought the shot took a little out of the team.
â€œIt changed are whole mood, we thought we were going to go into the half with the lead,â€ Bunch said.
The Griffons and Bulldogs were involved in a seesaw battle the whole second half. The Griffons held a small lead at 53-49 with 9:48 left in the game. The Bulldogs pulled away with a 24-15 run and ultimately claiming the victory.
The Griffons were led in the game in scoring by Bunch who poured in 19 points and also added 11 rebounds for a double-double. The Griffons add three other players in double figures as Gus Moss added 16 points. Lonnel Johnson and Jay McFarland added 11 points a piece. The successes of practices havenâ€™t translated over to the games for the Griffons.
â€œWe have been working hard in practice, we just havenâ€™t been able to win any games,â€ Bunch said.
The Griffons are currently sitting in last place in the MIAA. The Griffons will have to win their last three remaining games to have any chance of making the MIAA Conference Tournament. Even if the Griffons win out there is no guarantee they will make the tournament. Coach Smith believes the Griffons owe it to the university to finish the season strong.
â€œThey are getting their school played for and have an obligation to finish out the season,â€ Smith said.
The Griffons struggled in key areas during this game. The Griffons were out rebounded in this game 40-31 and gave up 17 offensive rebounds, which resulted in many second chance opportunities for the Bulldogs. The Griffons only had six assists in the game, while they turned the ball over 11 times.
The Griffons didnâ€™t fair any better on Saturday as they lost again, to Central Missouri by the score of 69-54. The Griffons were led in scoring by Bunch, who poured in 21. The only other Griffon in double figures was Johnson who added 16 points.
The Griffons will wrap up there season as they will travel to Maryville to face Northwest on Wednesday. Then they will be back home on Saturday against Missouri Southern to wrap up the season.