Missouri Western had some good runs, one at the beginning and one at the end, but a 19-4 start was too much for the Griffons to overcome as they fell to the Bearcats 87-64.
This loss pushes the Griffons to 1-6 at home on the year, a stat that head coach Sundance Wicks is not proud of.
“It’s not good. It’s maturity. Obviously on the road the guys are doing good, staying locked in, but here at home, they need to bring that same intensity,” Wicks said. “I mean it has to change. If I have to get out there and do pregame warmups with them I will, but it has to change.”
The loss and the slow start for the Griffons has been an all season occurence for this Missouri Western basketball team. This game was a lot of what Western fans have seen in their past home games, and they did it with one of the biggest crowds they’ve seen.
Junior Tyus Millhollin echoed the sentiments of his coach.
“This can’t happen again, and it won’t happen again,” Millhollin said. “This isn’t us. We will get better, and we will be better. We have to be.”
Northwest started the game on a hot run. At one point, the score was 11-0, and then 19-4. A 15 point lead that wouldn’t even be the biggest lead of the half. The Griffons started fighting back, going on a 10 point run only letting the Bearcats score two in that run.
The Griffons couldn’t hold the flood gates any longer. Missouri Western’s defense faltered for the rest of the half, and at half it was a 40-23 game, a 17 point lead for Northwest. Still not the biggest lead of the game.
Senior Bryan Hudson was not happy with how the defense played and knew who to blame.
“We can’t come out and let up 10 points without doing anything. [We] can’t just keep getting punched in the face,” Hudson said. “Coach Wicks might try to take the blame, but that’s on us. Defense needs to be better, and we can’t let those kinds of runs happen.”
The second half was a lot of the same by the defense, but the offense started showing more life. Only scoring 23 points in the first half, they came out and scored 41 in the second half. That would look better if they didn’t also let up 47 in the second.
At one point the Griffons were down by 24, a half-point above the Bearcats average point differential. The Griffons lost by 23, a point Wicks made.
“Their point differential is 23.5, and this one was only 23, so that’s a positive,” Wicks said.
The 20-23 point range was the usual point differential in the second half, with occasional points of it being a little less or a little more.
The Bearcats, 12 minutes into the second half, were beating the Griffons 68-38, but two minutes later, the score was 70-51. A good run by the Western offense, and that offense fueled the defense to do better, just like it did on their earlier run.
This loss drops their conference record to 2-5, and their overall record to 8-10. This was their fourth home loss in a row.
Their next game is Thursday, Jan. 24th at 7:30 p.m. when the Griffons travel to face a tough Fort Hays (12-5) team.