By TOMMY REZAC
St. Joseph Post
The triple threat of JaQuaylon 'Q' Mays, Reese Glover and Caleb Bennett powered the Missouri Western men's basketball team to a 93-82 win over No. 8 St. Thomas Aquinas College on Sunday in the final game of the Small College Basketball Hall of Fame Classic at the St. Joseph Civic Arena.
The Griffons (1-1) shot an impressive 60 percent from three-point range in the upset, hitting 18-of-30 attempts. Bennett was a perfect 5-of-5 from downtown, while Glover's eight threes were a new career-high and tied a program record.
Mays led all scorers in the contest for a second straight game with 25 points, as Missouri Western picked up its third win over a ranked team in the young tenure of head coach Will Martin. Mays also had four rebounds, four assists and three steals, while connecting on 4-of-5 three-point attempts.
Glover finished with 24 points, while Bennett cashed in 19. JaRon Thames finished with 12 points. Will Eames had seven points and a team-high nine rebounds.
"That's what it takes to be great is trusting the process and trusting each other," Martin said, "and being able to make the right play, no matter what the circumstance is."
The first half was a back-and-forth battle, but the Griffons were able to build a 36-27 lead with with 7:41 to go until halftime. The Spartans closed the gap, but Missouri Western came out on the right side of nine lead changes in the first half, as Mays drilled a three at the halftime buzzer to give his team a 46-45 lead at the break.
The Griffons then came out of the locker room firing on all cylinders, making 9-of-13 threes in the second half and leading by as much as 15.
St. Thomas Aquinas (1-1) overcame a double-digit deficit, got in the bonus and sunk some free throws to make it an 87-82 game with 2:08 to go. Mays got a late and-one to put his team ahead 90-82 with 43 seconds left.
After a missed shot in transition by the Spartans, Glover made his eighth three inside the final 30 seconds to seal the win.
In all, the Griffons shot 56.9 percent from the floor and finished with 16 assists to go with 20 turnovers.
"Even though we turned the ball over too much, we only had 16 assists," Martin said. "I would like for that to increase. We had 10 (against Embry-Riddle), so progress over perfection. I think this is a team that can get 20 assists per game. They're starting to trust the system and starting to trust each other."
Next up for the Griffons is Minnesota State-Mankato on Friday night in the first of two games in the Central Region Challenge at the Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City. Tipoff is set for 7:45 p.m. The game will be carried live on KFEQ Radio (680 AM, 95.3 FM).
You can follow Tommy on Twitter @TommyKFEQ and St. Joseph Post @StJosephPost.