Coach Brett Weiberg and his crew set course for Joplin, Missouri, this weekend to play a game that, if won, would push the Griffons to 7-8 in MIAA play and 11-11 overall on the season. That would go a long way in making up ground in the MIAA.
The Griffons are coming off of an upset win against Lindenwood. Freshman Seth Bonifas said the team was feeling good about the win.
“Winning the game against Lindenwood really got us pumped up, and we will carry it over to the Southern game Saturday,” Bonifas said.
Lindenwood, a team that has already qualified for a spot in the MIAA tournament and tied for first in the MIAA, lead with a 10-4 record in MIAA play. They are tied with Northwest Missouri State and Central Missouri, both teams Missouri Western has to play again on the road.
Besides two home games against Lincoln and Southwest Baptist, the road to postseason play is a tall task. But, if we have learned anything this year, the Griffons are capable of beating anyone.
If we look back to the last time these two teams squared off, it was a Griffons home game back on Jan. 24. Missouri Western went into the half up six points, but after the half Southern went on a 17-0 run and things got away from the Griffons.
In that game, we saw Cortrez Colbert of MWSU and Taevaunn Prince of MSSU match each other almost shot for shot. Colbert, hitting seven field goals, and Prince, hitting six, both lead their teams in scoring with 18 points. Look for another shootout between Colbert and Prince. Like last time these two played, who ever gets on a better run will more than likely take the win.
Prince had three other teammates go in double figure points with him, while only Currie Byrd joined Colbert at the double-digit party. Also, MSSU shot 45 percent from the arc in the second half compared to MWSU’s zero percent. You have to think Southern won’t be that hot again, and Western won’t be that cold again.
Missouri Southern is led by the duo of Prince and Cameron Cornelius in scoring who, when they get on the same page, are a lethal combo. The Griffons will have to be very cautious with the top of the Lions’ offense, as that’s where the majority of their points come from. That will be a big test for the Griffons’ young guard pairings in slowing the Lions down.
We have officially entered the stretch of the season where it’s do or die for postseason spots and this very talented, but also very young, Griffon team. Going into Joplin and winning would be a big win for this team and would help get them closer to playing in Kansas City.
Watch for young players like freshmen Cole Clearman, Byrd and Bonifas to start coming up big behind senior Colbert. This should be a shootout in Joplin, with two teams fighting for seeding in the MIAA. There won’t be too much love lost this Valentine’s day as the teams square off this Saturday, Feb. 14, at 3 p.m in the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center in Joplin.