Protecting Looney has been a theme with Griffon men’s basketball all year long, and the team has done more than deliver on that promise.
The Griffons had another undefeated week at home, defeating Lincoln 81-71 on Wednesday, before topping Central Missouri in an 84-80 Saturday shootout. In doing so, the Griffons have improved to 9-0 at the Looney Complex this season and are also currently sitting fourth in the MIAA.
Wednesday’s game saw the Griffons get revenge on a Lincoln team that bested Missouri Western 89-66 earlier in the season. With the game tied at 28 midway through the first half, the Griffons went on a 14-3 run to pull away from the Lions and take a 45-35 lead into halftime. Even when star point guard Tyrell Carroll only had four points, Missouri Western held Lincoln to just 29% shooting in the second half, and the Griffons were able to ring the bell after an 81-71 victory.
Head coach Sundance Wicks played 10 guys in the first half. Every player that came into the game made their mark on the game. A theme with this Griffon’s team has been unsung heroes stepping up when needed. Wednesday, it was freshman Jaron Thames. Thames, playing over 31 minutes as the sixth man, put up 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting. Senior guard Tyus Millhollin and freshman forward Will Eames each added 13 points, with Eames going 3-of-4 from three-point range. Zach Anderson also connected on a pair or 3-pointers in seven minutes.
Anderson says he’s happy the team is continuing to succeed and get everyone involved.
“We work so hard,” Anderson said. “We’ve put in the work, it’s just great to see the team finally get some wins.”
Wicks says the ability to win without Carroll having his best game was impressive.
“A true point guard has to be able to command his troops and get the dub,” Wicks said. “That was a team win.”
Saturday saw the Griffons play maybe their best 33 minutes of the season. The team could not miss in the first half. Millhollinn had four threes in the first, and freshman Reese Glover added three as well. Missouri Western led by as many as 16 with seven minutes left, but Central Missouri is a great team for a reason. They did not go away. The Mules slowly but surely started to chip away, but the Griffons were able to hold their own with help from Glover’s banner performance. A steal by Eames with two seconds left sealed the deal.
Glover led the way for the Griffons with 26 points in 20 minutes, going 8-of-12 from three-point range. Millhollin added 16 points and four triples of his own, and Eames had a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Glover says confidence was key in his big game.
“I try to come out every game confident,” Glover said. “I got to hit shots for this team. It’s my role.”
Wicks said Glover’s performance personified Glover’s talent he saw when recruiting him.
“I saw flashbacks from Reece from Tennessee from Franklin High,” Wicks said. “It’s going to be fun to watch him grow over the course of the years.”
The Griffons are back on the road this week, as they travel to Pittsburg and Joplin for MIAA matchups against Pittsburg State and Missouri Southern State.