In the regular season finale, Missouri Western (6-20) was unable to contain Lindenwood’s (16-12) great offensive performance in a double-digit loss.
Lindenwood shot 63.5 percent from the field and 64.7 percent from the three-point line, and never relinquished the lead in an 88-70 victory. Despite the loss, Western qualified as the number 12 seed in the MIAA Tournament due to tiebreakers.
Coach Brett Weiberg believes the team did a good job defending early in the shot clock.
“We were able to score the ball at times vs Lindenwood,” Weiberg said. “We defended for the majority of the shot clock, but we were not good late in the clock. Lindenwood shot the basketball extremely well.”
Senior guard Cole Clearman feels that the team could’ve performed better on the defensive end.
“I thought we didn’t play the greatest,” Clearman said. “We struggled defensively, but they played well.”
Weiberg was telling the team that they needed two victories entering the week.
“The message I was sending the team was that we needed to win,” Weiberg said. “We wanted to control our own destiny and not rely on anyone else to win or lose. We were able to win the first and then we are fortunate that UCO (University of Central Oklahoma) and Washburn won.”
Senior guard TJ Evans experienced contrasting emotions following the loss.
“Saturday was tough,” Evans said. “It was one of the weirdest feelings I’ve ever had because we didn’t play well; we got beat pretty good. But, then we found out we’re still in the tournament. So it was kind of a brief moment of joy. So, it was weird to combine two feelings being defeat and upset to turning around and finding out we’re in the tournament.”
Clearman feels well about extending the season.
“We’re excited to go play another game,” Clearman said. “The mentality right now is to survive and advance.”
Evans likes the teams chances in the tournament.
“I think there’s no better time to play them (Central Missouri) than right now,” Evans said. “I think that we’re playing well and they haven’t been playing as well as they would like to. I think it’s a perfect opportunity to get it done.”
Western had three players score in double figures. Clearman (16), junior forward Lavon Hightower (15) and Evans (12).
On Feb. 22, Western defeated Lincoln University (15-13) by a score of 82-73.
Western will travel to Warrensburg, Missouri, on Feb. 27 to face Central Missouri University (19-9) in the first round of the MIAA Tournament.