On Saturday, Jan. 24, Western started off their game against Missouri Southern hot, but went ice cold after the half.
Southern, who took control for the last half of the game, defeated the Griffons 77-65.
After the Griffons’ stunning comeback win against Southern Baptist in the second half just one week before, it is almost ironic that the same situation would happen against them.
Western started the game slow, trailing by as much as seven early on. But, they soon found a rhythm on offense.
With 10 minutes to go in the first half, forward Currie Byrd made a jump shot that gave the Griffons their first lead of the game.
That jumper started a 7-0 run for Western. The offense continued to gain momentum and took their lead into halftime.
Griffons led the Lions 41-35 at halftime. Western dominated from the floor, shooting 53.3 percent from the field and 50 percent from beyond the arc.
Southern shot 45.2 percent from the field and 30 percent from the arc.
But this was a true tale of two halves for Western.
The Lions opened up the second half by going on a dominating 27-3 run in the first 10 minutes. It only took them just over a minute to overcome the six-point deficit and take the lead at 43-41.
The Griffons eventually found a little fire on the offensive end, but just couldn’t catch up to Southern’s strong offense.
Western fell at home 77-65 to the Lions. The loss knocks them to an 8-9 record overall and 4-6 in MIAA play.
The Griffons went cold on offense, shooting 27.6 percent from the field, making just 8 of 29 shots.
Southern stayed consistent, shooting 42.3 percent.
Byrd said the team’s attitude had a big impact on how the second half went the way it did.
“We came out in the second half and thought that we could control it… They had better effort,” Byrd said. “You gotta have intensity in the second half and we didn’t have it.”
Head coach Brett Weiberg acknowledged the change in tempo was sudden.
“It’s very apparent that we didn’t play good defense, obviously,” Weiberg said. “That stretch in the second half, they played pretty good offense and our offense was poor.”
Forward Kevin Thomas said that he just tries to focus on one game at a time to keep improving.
“It’s a process,” Thomas said. “I’ve been trying to stay healthy. Each and every game, I’ve been trying to play better, bring better effort.”
Western will head to Jefferson City, Missouri, to face off against Lincoln on Thursday, Jan. 29. Tipoff is set for 7.30 p.m.