Missouri Western men’s basketball will need some wins down the stretch to be in the eight-team MIAA conference tournament field after starting 1-8 in league play. The Griffons will look to snap a six-game losing streak and get back on the winning track this week.
The Griffons will travel to Bolivar to play Southwest Baptist on Jan. 17. The Bearcats are 10-6 overall and 3-6 in MIAA conference play. After dropping five straight to start league play, Southwest Baptist got things turned around winning four out of it’s last five including quality wins against Fort Hays State and Washburn.
The Bearcats were beat by 23 points against Northwest Missouri State in Maryville the last time out. The Griffons will look to stop the four players that score in double-figures for Southwest Baptist. 5-11 senior guard Ryan Dogherty leads the team in scoring at 14.5 points per game and is shooting 44% from the field. Guard Preston Guiot is scoring 13.3 points per game while guard Kyle Sloan is scoring 13.2. 6-6 225 Robson Memnon is scoring 11.4 points per game and pulling down 7.4 rebounds while shooting 58% from the field on the season. The Griffons will look to stop Memnon inside with big men Lavonte Douglas and Justin Reid.
On Jan. 21 the Griffons will come back to St. Joseph to play Pittsburg State in the MWSU Fieldhouse. The Gorillas record is 10-6 and 6-4 in conference play.
Western and Pitt. State played in Pittsburg on Nov. 30 and the Gorillas came away for a 77-71 victory in a hard fought game. Pitt State was led by 17 points from JaVon McGee, Drake Green, and Eric Ray. Andra also added 10 points and 11 rebounds. The Griffons had four players in double-figures in the game and the Gorillas defense is giving up the most points in the MIAA at 72 per game. The Griffons will have to keep the Gorillas off of the boards as they were out-rebounded by 20 as a team in the last meeting.
Western scored a season-low 48 points in the last contest at Central Missouri and will need to find some offense. T.J. Johnson leads the team in scoring with 13.9 points per game, James Harris scores 11.9, and Lavonte Douglas adds 11.6 and seven rebounds.