Coming off of a two game losing streak, the Missouri Western boys basketball team look to redeem themselves on the road against Southwest Baptist University, a team they just lost to at home. The Griffons were able to do just that as they beat the Bearcats 85-71 in a game they needed to win if they wanted a chance to clinch a spot in the MIAA Tournament. The Griffons improve to 6-10 in their conference and are now sitting 11th in the overall standings.
Missouri Western came out and led the tempo of the game from the very start, getting things done on both ends of the floor. Taking a lead early, the Griffons dominated on offense and ended the first half on a 28-8. They led by 16 on 13-31 shooting from the field. Freshman point guard Tyrell Carroll was a huge help for the Griffons in the first half scoring 13 points and 2 assists.
“Shots were just falling, and we were communicating as a team,” Carroll said. “We know what we did wrong last week, and we just came in here with a different mindset and got the W.”
The Griffons good game plan didn’t stop in the second half. They continued to flourish on offense shooting 51.5 percent from the field and an outstanding 92.9 percent from the free throw line. The Bearcats didn’t let their first half deficit defeat them as they came out in the second half much stronger and went on a 10-3 run to cut the Griffons lead down to just nine. Once the Griffons got back into the groove of things, they opened their lead back to 14, and kept it up for the remainder of the game.
“We knew what we had to come in here and accomplish,” junior guard Beau Baker said. “We got out to the early lead, and at half we just told each other let’s keep playing as a team and doing what were doing, and we’ll win this game.”
Tyrell Carroll was the leading scorer for the Griffons putting up 19 points and 2 assists. Lavon Hightower had another solid game, adding 18 points and 9 rebounds as he continues to be the main offensive threat for Missouri Western this year.
With this win the Griffons have now won six on the road, the most road games in a season since 2001-02. With this win, Missouri Western hopes of making the MIAA Tournament is still obtainable as they are now in a four-way tie for ninth in the standings. The Griffons next match is against Central Missouri on the road. The mules won the last meeting between the Griffs 59-56 and are apart of that four-way tie for ninth. The game is set to take place Saturday, Feb. 23 in Warrensburg, Missouri.