Missouri Western gained more than just a win on Saturday night at the Fieldhouse. The team was finally able to climb out of the MIAA cellar.
The Griffons took down Lincoln 76-68 and improved to 8-15 on the season.
The Griffons scored first in the game, but Lincoln then went on a 16-2 run. Coach Brett Weiberg used a timeout to let his team regroup.
“I’m more disappointed in how we played in that first five minutes of the game, than in any other part of the game,” said Weiberg.
After the timeout, the Griffons went to their bench. This is when the game turned for Missouri Western. Currie Byrd came off the bench and scored five points on the Griffons next two possessions and led them on a 10-5 run.
“I was proud the kids were able to dig us out of that hole,” said Weiberg.
It wasn’t until the eight-minute mark of the half that the Griffons were able to tie the game on a Wes Mitter three-point shot. After going up 28-25 on their next possession, Trey Sampson then made one of his five first half three-pointers.
“I guess you could say I was feeling it,” Sampson said.
Sampson wasn’t the only one; the Griffons made nine of their 15 three-point attempts and took an eight-point lead into halftime. The bench players scored 18 of the teams 41 first half points.
“Our bench is phenomenal, they’re always getting up for the team,” said Sampson.
The Griffons dominated the second half, leading by double digits for most of the second half. Western led by 21 points with 8:25 left in the half, and seemed to have put the game away.
Lincoln had other plans though, slowly climbing back into the game. They used their interior offense and Griffon fouls to make it a five-point game with 32 seconds left.
“We didn’t shoot very effectively in the last five minutes of the game, said Weiberg. “But, we used a lot of clock.”
Sampson sunk 3-4 free throws, finishing off Lincoln and giving Missouri Western their 8th home victory. Sampson led the team with 22 points and played all but four minutes of the game. Byrd was second on the team with 14 points in only 19 minutes of action.
The Griffons travel to Oklahoma this week to take on Northeastern State University Thursday and the University of Central Oklahoma on Saturday.