The Griffons have struggled mightily to start the 2016-2017 season. Missouri Western is 1-8 through their first nine games.
Western started the season at home with two straight losses to Wayne State and Upper Iowa. Wayne State beat the Griffons 70-57 and then Upper Iowa knocked off the Griffons 77-68. Western guard Cole Clearman scored a team -high 15 points in the first game, then followed that up with 22 points against Upper Iowa.
The Griffons continued their losing streak on Nov. 15 with a loss to William Jewell in Liberty, Missouri. Joe Hamilton led the team with 22 points in the 79-73 loss.
Their streak continued in a loss to Lake Superior State, before finally getting a win against Maryville University in St. Louis, Missouri. The Griffons went 1-1 in the Marriott St. Louis Airport Classic.
The Griffons traveled to Tahlequa, Oklahoma on Nov. 30 to open conference play against Northeastern State University. Western fell to the RiverHawks 55-41.
“I thought that defensively we were prepared for the most part,” head coach Brett Weiberg said. “I thought the kids carried over the game plan pretty well.”
The two teams went back and forth in the first half and the Griffons found themselves down by four heading into halftime. Senior Aaron Emmanuel led Western with six points in the first half but finished the game with just nine points.
Northeastern outscored the Griffons 22-4 over the final 7:32 of the second half. Before that run, Missouri Western held a four point lead.
“You look up, you have a lead, and we just don’t make a shot, and we had a few costly turnovers,” Weiberg said.
The Griffons shot a lowly 28.6 percent from the field. The two teams combined to miss 68 field goal attempts in that game.
Emmanuel led the Griffons with nine points in just 16 minutes of action. Missouri Western went three for 15 from three-point range. Western ranks last in the MIAA, shooting 30 percent on the season from beyond the arc.
The Griffons did score 20 points off of turnovers in the loss and outscored the RiverHawks in the paint 18-14. Missouri Western turned the ball over 16 times in the game.
“We had a bunch of costly turnovers,” Weiberg said.
The Griffons welcomed the Central Missouri Mules to the MWSU Fieldhouse on Saturday Dec. 3. The third place Mules jumped on Western early and never let up — winning 76-59.
Clearman led the Griffons in the first half with nine points. The junior was four for six from the field and one for three from three point range.
Spencer Reaves led the Mules with 11 points in the first half. Reaves was also four for six from the field, but went three for four from beyond the arc.
The Mules couldn’t miss in the first half, shooting 60 percent from the field as a team, while adding eight three point shots. The Griffons shot 50 percent from the field, but were just 28 percent from three point range. Central Missouri led 39-25 at halftime.
“Defensively, we just weren’t where we needed to be,” Weiberg said.
The second half was much of the same for the two teams. The Griffons pulled within nine halfway though the second half, but the Mules then went on an 11- 3 run to finish off Missouri Western.
Reaves led all scorers with 22 points, while committing just one turnover. Joe Hamilton led the Griffons with 13 points in the blowout loss. Clearman finished the game with 11 points and Emmanuel added 10.
Western finished the game shooting 41 percent from the field (19-46). They added four more three point shots in the second half, but still shot just 31 percent.
“Central Missouri has some talented guys, but we’ve just got to get a lot better,” Weiberg said.
The Griffons traveled to Maryville Tuesday night to face the undefeated Bearcats. Northwest did what they have been doing all season–win and they did in a dominant fashion. The no. 2 team in the country beat the Griffons 78-52.