Jan 02, 2022 5:23 AM

Missouri Western women dominate, Griffon men fall short to Pitt State Saturday

Posted Jan 02, 2022 5:23 AM
Courtesy photo.
Courtesy photo.

By TOMMY REZAC

St. Joseph Post

The Missouri Western women's basketball team (11-1, 5-1 MIAA) forced 22 turnovers and held Pittsburg State to just 2-of-13 shooting from three, as the Griffons rolled to an 81-55 win at the MWSU Fieldhouse on Saturday.

After a pretty close start to the game, Missouri Western went up 40-25 at halftime, thanks to a big start from Brionna Budgets, who scored 12 points in the first half and wound up with 17 for the game.

Budgets also had four steals as Missouri Western finished with 15 steals as a team and held the Gorillas (9-4, 4-3 MIAA) to 39.6 percent shooting on the night. The Griffons also scored 28 points off of the 22 turnovers they forced.

"I thought we guarded as well as we have all year," Missouri Western coach Candi Whitaker said, "against a team that's really good. So, I just have to credit our kids."

Alyssa Bonilla was yet again a bright spot for the Griffons. Making just her second start of the season, Bonilla scored seven points to go with six rebounds, three assists and a career-high seven steals.

"For the most part, we played fairly mistake free," Whitaker said. "I didn't expect us to turn them over like that, but just scrappy. Alyssa makes so much happen when she's on the floor and she was big time tonight."

The Griffons continued to slowly pull away in the second half, and Connie Clarke started to get going offensively, eventually finishing with a game-high 20 points and eight rebounds. Jordan Cunningham also finished with 10 points - all in the second half.

Missouri Western also won the rebounding battle 38-30 and dominated points in the paint, 50-28.

The Griffon women stay home to face Missouri Southern (7-4, 4-2 MIAA) on Monday evening. Tip-off is set for 5:30 p.m. The game will be carried live on KFEQ Radio with pregame starting at 5 p.m.

"Missouri Southern is a really good team and we have to be ready to go," Whitaker said.

Missouri Western men fall behind early, come up short against Gorillas

Pittsburg State jumped out to an 11-3 lead to start, led 33-24 at halftime and never trailed in the second half, as the Gorillas defeated Missouri Western, 72-64, on Saturday night in St. Joseph.

The Griffons (8-6, 4-2 MIAA) shot just 35 percent (21-of-60) from the field, including 2-of-18 from three, but really, only a couple of numbers mattered to coach Will Martin at the end.

"When you have four assists and 15 turnovers, you're not going to beat anybody," he said. "We have to get better...you're not going to win any game that way."

Missouri Western trailed by double digits, but managed to get to within five points several times in the second half, but never got closer than that.

A Justin Bubak three-pointer with 22 seconds left pulled Western to within 69-64, but the Gorillas made several more free throws right after to seal the victory.

Pitt State (4-9, 3-4 MIAA), which won its first game away from home this season on Saturday, finished 26-of-33 at the free throw line and shot 41.2 percent (21-of-51) from the field.

Bobby Arthur-Williams, Jr., a third-team all-MIAA honoree from last season, came off of injury and played his first game of the 2021-22 campaign for the Gorillas on Saturday and returned in style.

Arthur-Williams, Jr. scored a game-high 24 points and hauled in 10 rebounds to lead Pitt State to its first win in St. Joseph since February 2018. He led six players in double figures. Ryan Pippins and Tyler Hawkins each had 11.

Will Eames had one of his better games of the season for Western, logging his third double-double of the year with 20 points and 13 rebounds. Q Mays finished with 14 points, seven rebounds, three steals and two assists.

The Missouri Western men's game against Missouri Southern in St. Joseph scheduled for Monday, Jan. 3 has been postponed due to COVID protocol within Southern's program. A make-up date will be announced later.

The Griffons are next in action Thursday, Jan. 6 at Emporia State (10-3, 5-2 MIAA). Tip-off in that game is set for 7:30 p.m.

"We just have to stay ready," Martin said of the schedule changes. "There's going to be multiple games that get rescheduled. It really doesn't matter if we have three or four days, or if we have two days, we're in that part of the season now where you have to stay ready."

Will Eames (left). Courtesy GoGriffons.com.
Will Eames (left). Courtesy GoGriffons.com.

You can follow Tommy on Twitter @TommyKFEQ and St. Joseph Post @StJosephPost.