Griffons aim for an upset over No. 22 Missouri Southern

By Mika Cummins

February 7, 2014

by Destiny Smith

Western aims for a major upset when they take on the No. 22 Missouri Southern Lions.

Last time Missouri Western met up with Missouri Southern, the Griffons left Joplin, Mo. with a 34-point loss.

This time, point guard Ryan Devers, along with forwards Adarius Fulton and Dareon Jones, have other things in mind.

This season, the Griffons have been working their butts off. They hit the court every day, except Sundays, for practice.

With all that practice, the Griffons feel ready to face off with Missouri Southern next Saturday for the second time this season.

As a team, they scored a season-high 99 points against Lincoln University at the end of January.

Devers just might be the light that the Griffons need to shine, but Devers knows just what the Lions are capable of doing.

“I’m aware that they are a team that can put up a lot of points,” Devers said.

Jones comes out of the woodwork with a great game, scoring 15 points, including three dunks in one night. He still remembers the previous match-up all too clearly.

“It’s still in the back of my mind how they beat us,” Jones said. “So, next time I will bring more energy and be confident in my team.”

Western has been trying to stay ahead of the game. Starting the season off with a record of 9-11, some might say that they have a long way to go, but Jones and the rest of the Griffons aren’t even close to giving up.

“I’m confident. We practice every day. We’re all confident in each other, as well as what we do on the court,” Jones said. “I feel like every game we have a chance to win. Every game we lost was only by 10 points. As long as we stay together and stay positive, we can turn things around at any point.”

However, Missouri Southern has a 15-4 overall record, placing them at No. 22 in the nation. To go along with that, the Lions are 9-3 in MIAA play, making them fourth in the conference. The Lions also have five games where they scored over 100 points.

After missing three games, Fulton came back for the blowout victory over Lincoln.

“My first game back was cool,” Fulton said. “I was happy to be back on the court and playing with my team.”

Despite his absence, Fulton has no faltering beliefs in the talent of the Griffons.

“I really do [think we can go all the way]. It’s never too late, [we] just have to go out there every day with a winning mentality and play better defense,” Fulton said. “We’re too close to what we want.”

Western has a lot in store for the Lions when they face off again on Sat., Feb. 15 at the MWSU Fieldhouse. Tipoff is set for 3:30 p.m.