By TOMMY REZAC
St. Joseph Post
The Missouri Western men's basketball team got off to a 7-3 start in the first half and never looked back in an 82-46 domination of Rockhurst on Tuesday night at the MWSU Fieldhouse.
The Griffons (2-2), leading 12-10 with 13:24 left in the first half, reeled off a 12-2 run to grab a 24-12 lead with 10:10 to go until halftime and it was never close after that.
Missouri Western shot a scorching 18-of-28 from the field in the first half, including 7-of-10 from three, to go up 45-29 at the break.
The Griffons cruised the rest of the way and bounced back nicely after a 78-67 setback at Oklahoma Baptist last Thursday.
"I've been really hard on these guys the last few days," Missouri Western coach Will Martin said. "I feel like we hadn't reached our full potential and I still don't think we have, but they responded. They responded."
The second half belonged to the defense, as Missouri Western held Rockhurst (2-3) to just 17 points in the final 20 minutes. The Hawks shot just 5-of-28 from the field in the second half and shot just 28.6 percent from the field in the whole game, including an abysmal 4-of-32 from three.
Junior Will Eames led four Griffons in double figures, as he put up a season-high 19 points and eight rebounds. Sophomore Reed Kemp had a career-high 17 points on an excellent 6-of-7 shooting effort. Kemp was also 4-of-5 at the free throw line and he grabbed five rebounds.
"It was just a good win," Kemp said. "We really honed in on what the coaches were telling us to do. We played for each other tonight and the score is just a product of that. Just playing hard and loving each other."
Junior Julius Dixon has scored in double figures in every game so far this season. He logged 12 points, six rebounds and two steals against Rockhurst. Sophomore Zion Swader had 11 points on 3-of-3 shooting from the floor and 4-of-4 shooting at the foul line.
The Griffons were 17-of-22 at the charity stripe, they outrebounded Rockhurst 38-28, they scored 19 points off of 14 Rockhurst turnovers and they made 12 more field goals than what the Hawks did.
It was a full, successful, 40-minute effort against a Rockhurst team that had lost by only two points at Emporia State and beat Washburn 79-70 all in the last week.
"The guys trusted the scouting report," Martin said. "They executed the scouting report. If we can continue to do that, you're not always going to have games that look like this, but you're going to continue to give yourselves chances to win."
Missouri Western stays home Saturday to face Avila in non-conference play. Tip-off from the MWSU Fieldhouse is set for 3:30 p.m. The Griffon women's game against Avila will precede it at 1:30 p.m. Both games will be on KFEQ Radio (680, 95.3).
You can follow Tommy on Twitter @TommyKFEQ and St. Joseph Post @StJosephPost.