By TOMMY REZAC
St. Joseph Post
The Missouri Western men's basketball team built a 16-point lead with just over six minutes to play against Augustana - only for the Vikings to erase that deficit.
Augustana tied the game at 72-72 with 47 seconds left, but late free throws - two by JaRon Thames and two more by Josh Book - were enough for the Griffons (1-0) to hold on for a 76-72 win on Friday in the Hillyard Tipoff Classic at the MWSU Fieldhouse in St. Joseph.
Missouri Western trailed by as many as seven points in the first half, but managed to tie it at 41-41 by halftime.
The Griffons, who start the season 1-0 for the third time in four years under head coach Will Martin, scored the first points of the second half, and never trailed in the final 20 minutes.
However, leading 72-56 with 6:07 to go, Missouri Western went on a scoring drought that lasted more than five-and-a-half minutes.
But again, the Griffons never lost the lead. Leading 74-72 with 11 seconds left, Missouri Western got a key stop when Augustana's Jadan Graves was called on a travel with just 2.5 seconds left on the clock.
Book made two free throws with 2.1 left, putting Missouri Western up four.
Thames led five Griffons in double figures with 18 points. He also had a game-high 10 rebounds to log a double-double.
Taye Fields was solid all night, tallying 15 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, a steal and a block. Reese Glover and Josh Book each added 10 points off the bench. The Griffons had an impressive 28 bench points.
Missouri Western shot 45.2 percent from the field, including 8-of-22 from three. The Griffons were a solid 12-of-14 at the free throw line.
Graves and Isaac Fink led Augustana with 17 points each. The Vikings shot a solid 45.5 percent on the night, making eight threes themselves.
Missouri Western is back in action Saturday, hosting No. 21 Northern State at 5:30 p.m. The game will be on KFEQ Radio (680, 95.3) with coverage starting at 5.
Northern State lost to No. 1 Northwest Missouri State, 65-47, on Friday at the MWSU Fieldhouse.
Griffons pull away in second half against Winona State
The Missouri Western women's basketball team was in a battle with Winona State in the first half, leading the Warriors 36-31 at intermission.
The third quarter, however, wasn't much of a contest.
No. 25 Missouri Western (1-0) outscored Winona State 32-16 in the third period on their way to a 90-63 win over the Warriors in the Division II Women's Basketball Central Region Showcase at Civic Arena in St. Joseph on Friday night.
The Griffons shot a scorching 12-of-21 from the field in the third quarter, including 8-of-14 from three.
Alyssa Bonilla hit a pair of threes to get the third quarter party started. Then, Jayme Jackson hit one. Then, Mackenzie Hart peppered on three more triples after that to essentially put the game on ice.
Missouri Western added 22 points to their total in the fourth quarter. Hart came off the bench to lead the way in scoring with 22 points in her Griffon debut.
Jackson, also making her Griffon debut after having to sit out last season due to MIAA transfer rules, added 19 points. Freshman Tiani Ellison, also debuting Friday, finished with 15 points.
Missouri Western dominated in rebounding 51-33, including 16-3 on the offensive glass. The Griffons hit 17 three-pointers in all and doled out 19 assists to just eight turnovers.
Missouri Western is back at Civic Arena on Saturday night to face Concordia-St. Paul (1-0) at 7:30 p.m. The game is on KFEQ Radio (680, 95.3).
You can follow Tommy on Twitter @TommyKFEQ and St. Joseph Post @StJosephPost.