Thursday at the MWSU Field House, Missouri Western men’s basketball gave fans a glimpse of what they will see on the court this season, as they defeated Livin’ the Dream 102-63.
“I thought our defense was pretty decent,” coach Tom Smith said. “I thought they played together, our passing at times was very sharp; for the most part I was pleased.”
The Griffons have focused their efforts on becoming a solid defensive team, and it showed Thursday as they forced 25 turnovers and held Livin’ The Dream to 63 points on 19-for-45 shooting from the field.
“We are way better defensively right now than we ever were last year,” Smith said. “If that continues to get better, we have a chance at being a decent defensive team.”
TJ Johnson led all scorers with 20 points on 7-for-11 shooting and 4-for-5 from the free throw line. He made two three-pointers and showed his leaping ability with some big dunks.
“That’s what I like to do,” Johnson said. “I like getting the crowd involved. If my teammate throws it up, I’m going to go get it.”
Deionta Mitchell scored 15 points on 5-for-8 shooting in 20 minutes. He also contributed three assists and a steal. His long range game was on display as he went 2-for-3 from three point distance.
“Last year I really didn’t shoot the ball that well,” Mitchell said. “That was a goal of mine this summer, so I just stayed in the gym a lot getting shots up. Tonight my teammates found me and got me open shots.”
James Harris scored 16 points on 7-for-13 shooting and dished out four assists. He had his hand wrapped up, and Smith said that he had only practiced two times before the game due to the injury of his left hand.
“Harris getting healthy has made a difference,” Smith said. “He’s probably our actual starting point guard.”
Dylan Frantz scored 14 points and handed out four assists.
“You have to love Dylan Frantz because he is a kid that just gives you a 100 percent every time,” Smith said.
Shawn Tarver scored 11 points on 5-for-7 shooting. The 6’8” big man had his mid-range jumpshot on display.
“This team will have to depend on playing together,” Smith said. “I think that they shared the ball well, and I think they had fun doing it. That’s the biggest thing.”
Western women win 96-52
The Griffon women had their talents on display also, as they defeated Livin’ The Dream 96-52.
Jessica Koch led all scorers with 30 points. Koch, a second team all-MIAA selection and the Griffons’ leading scorer from last season at 16.6 points per game, also pulled down 11 rebounds and had seven assists.
Brittany Griswold scored 12 points, Brittany Casady had 11 and Caitlin Linihan scored 10. The women finished with a team total of 27 assists, 52 rebounds and shot 46.6 percent from the field.
Ashleigh Curry, who used to play for Livin’ the Dream, did not participate in the scrimmage. Coach Lynn Plett does not know when she will return to the team, but hopes for a return for Saturday’s opener against Quincy.