The Griffons’ homesickness continued Saturday night in a 79-75 loss to the Missouri Southern Lions.
Western has struggled away from the Looney Fieldhouse this season and a combination of poor shooting and being out rebounded hurt the Griffons down the stretch in the second half.
It was a tale of two halves for Western. In the first half, shots were dropping from long range as they finished the half six of nine from behind the three point arc and also helped them to a 36-39 lead at halftime.
However, in the second half, the Griffons could not hit their three point shots and struggled from the foul line. Going just 1 of 10 on three point shots and 4 of 11 from the free throw line, the Griffons were not able to hold onto the lead and battled for much of the second half to stay close with the Lions.
“We were getting good looks at the basket, they just weren’t falling for us,” said senior forward, Quentin Noblin.
Despite all the missed shots, the Griffons continued to fight back as the cut Missouri Southern’s lead to two points on three different occasions in the second half. The last of which was with 28 seconds remaining. Western was forced to foul and the Lions made their free throws down the stretch to close out the game.
“I was very happy with the team’s effort to fight back even though a lot of our shots weren’t falling,” head coach Tom Smith said.
The Griffons had just nine turnovers in the game compared to 22 assists, seven of which came from Noblin.
Western had four players score in double digits in the game, including Dominique Thuston’s team high 21 points followed by Marcus Rhodes with 18, James Bush with 16 and Noblin finishing with 12 points.
The Griffons will need to regroup quickly as they return home to take on the University of Nebraska-Omaha on Wednesday night.
“The UNO game is a must win for us if we want to keep our hopes up of making the tournament,” Noblin said.
Western drops to 9-6 in MIAA play and 14-8 overall and is currently ranked eighth in the regional polls. They will look to get key wins against UNO, Southwest Baptist and the University of Central Missouri to improve their regional standings.