By TOMMY REZAC
St. Joseph Post
KANSAS CITY - With leading scorer Q Mays out of the lineup due to a family emergency, the Missouri Western men’s basketball team (3-4) made adjustments and held on for a 69-59 win at Rockhurst on Tuesday night in Kansas City.
Sophomore Reese Glover dropped a game-high 21 points on 7-of-11 shooting from three, while freshman Reed Kemp added 11 points and six assists in his first collegiate start.
Head coach Will Martin was proud of how his young players responded in Missouri Western’s first true road win of the season.
"We have a lot of young talent," Martin said, "and I feel bad, because a lot of those kids deserve to play, but when you have a tough non-conference schedule, you have to run with your horses and thoroughbreds. So, I'm always going to lean more towards our upperclassmen, but Reed Kemp showed he stayed prepared and stayed ready."
Trailing 25-24 at halftime, the Griffons started the second half on a 26-9 run and never lost the lead again.
"I thought we did a good job in the second half of taking care of the basketball," Martin said, after his team had just two turnovers in the final 20 minutes. "That goes hand-in-hand with our assist-to-turnover ratio, which has to get better. We're looking to share the ball more."
The Griffons finished with 13 assists and 13 turnovers. Junior Caleb Bennett scored 12 points to go with six rebounds, while Alex John and JaRon Thames each scored seven points.
Missouri Western returns home to host William Jewell on Saturday night. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. It'll be the last non-conference game before MIAA play starts on Dec. 2 against Rogers State.
Coach Martin is optimistic that the energy his team showed in Tuesday's win can carry over into Saturday and the games that follow that.
"I thought they responded with a great warm-up and I thought we had great energy on the bench," he said. "That's what we have to carry over to keep momentum the rest of the year. We want to play our best basketball in March, and I thought we took a step in the right direction in doing that today."
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