The long distance shots wouldn’t fall for the Griffon men as they were defeated 78-69 by Lindenwood University at the MWSU Fieldhouse. Western dropped to 7-8 overall and 3-4 in MIAA conference play.
Western shot 25-for-61 from the field and 7-for-25 from 3-point distance while Lindenwood was able to hit 23-for-42 from the field and 8-for-19 from 3-point distance.
“Players have to make shots,” coach Tom Smith said. “You can do all you want, but the players have to make the shots and we certainly didn’t make any key shots down the stretch today.”
The Griffons gave up 78 points, more than they are accustomed to allowing the opponent to score at home. Smith said that one of his rules is to never give up the baseline and there were a couple of instances late in the game where Lindenwood was able to drive baseline and score.
“We’re just going to work on our defese when we get back to practice,” guard Kalvin Balque said. “The offensive execution was bad tonight, but it’s usually not bad. We have to work on defense.”
The Griffons try to run their offense through post man Cedric Clinkscales, but Lindenwood made it difficult to get the ball inside as they were double-teaming the Griffon big. Clinkscales finished with a team-high 12 points, six rebounds, two assists, one block and one steal.
“That’s our game plan most of the time,” guard Reed Mells said. “We haven’t seen anyone who could stop Ced yet, so we have to get him the ball. Sometimes we don’t really do a great job getting him the ball where he is really effective and I think tonight was one of those nights.”
The high point of the night for Western came in the form of two highlight reel dunks from Alfreeman Flowers in traffic and one from Balque as he posterized a Lindenwood player on a fast break. However, the Griffons were unable to sustain the momentum from these plays as Lindenwood kept focus and responded with baskets of their own.
“I thought Lindenwood did a great job of not reacting to our big plays,” Smith said. “They were really good about not letting that affect them.”
Guard Adarius Fulton didn’t have his best game scoring the ball (six points), but make some very good plays coming away with four steals and five assists. Fulton ranks near the very top of the MIAA in steals per game and has become a master a forcing the opposition to turn the ball over this season.
“He just has a great nose for the ball and that’s really helped us,” Smith said.
Western was dominated on the glass, getting out-rebounded 38-to-24. Lindenwood committed 13 more turnovers than did Western, but it wasn’t enough to come away with the win.
“I know we can play better,” Mells said. “We played better against Northwest; this was kind of a bad loss for us. Lindenwood is a good team, but we shouldn’t have lost.”
The Griffons were without senior guard James Harris for the first time as he is no longer with the team due to disciplinary reasons. Harris was averaging 8 points per game in 24 minutes.
Western returns to action on Saturday against Emporia State University. Tip off is set for 3:30 p.m in Emporia, Kan.