Jan 07, 2022 12:54 PM

Missouri Western plays strong first half, slow start in second costs Griffons at Emporia

Posted Jan 07, 2022 12:54 PM
Stock photo.
Stock photo.

By TOMMY REZAC

St. Joseph Post

EMPORIA, KS - The Missouri Western men’s basketball team played a solid first half, but came out flat to start the second in a 76-64 loss at Emporia State Thursday night.

The Griffons (8-7, 4-3 MIAA) shot 53.3 percent in the first half and only trailed 43-40 at the break after 10 lead changes and six ties, but Emporia (12-3, 7-2 MIAA) started the second half on a 17-5 run and never looked back.

Missouri Western shot just 23.1 percent (6-of-26) in the second half and trailed 69-50 with just over eight minutes left. Head coach Will Martin saw a better effort from his team, but he knows further improvement is needed.

"I thought that our effort was there," he said. "They did a better job of taking us out of it, though. So, all credit to (Emporia). They're long, they're athletic and they're very principled. They had a great scouting report on us in terms of our personnel."

Will Eames led Missouri Western in scoring with 20 points. Q Mays nearly had a triple-double with 17 points, eight rebounds and nine assists.

Tray Buchanan led Emporia State with 33 points, including a 5-of-10 shooting night from three. The Hornets, who won their fifth straight overall and have now won four of the last five meetings with Missouri Western, made 11 total threes Thursday.

"In the second half, it was not enough," Martin said. "Tray Buchanan is a phenomenal player. We've taken steps forward, but (Emporia) is a very competitive team and losing is never satisfying. It's never enough. We'll take the small victories, but then we have to look at what we did that caused this loss and we have to change it quick."

Missouri Western is back on the road Saturday to face Washburn. Tip-off is set for 3 p.m.

Both of the Missouri Western women's games this week, at Emporia Thursday and the Washburn game scheduled for Saturday, were postponed due to COVID protocol outside of the Griffon program.

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