Griffons use big second half to upset No. 24 Bearcats

Missouri Western defeated its biggest rival Saturday evening, as the Griffons knocked off No. 24 ranked Northwest Missouri State 71-58.

The Griffons move to 3-3 in the conference, and gave the Bearcats (4-1) their first conference loss.

The Griffons opened the game playing extremely well building an eight point lead at 17-9 after an Adarius Fulton layup with 11:14 to play in the first frame. The next six minutes belonged to the Bearcats as they went on a 18-2 run capped by an Alex Sullivan long range shot giving Northwest a 27-19 with 5:14 to play. Seven straight James Harris points and a Dzenan Mrkaljevic three gave the Griffons a 6-0 run cutting the Bearcat lead to 33-31 at the half.

The Griffons shot 50-percent (13-26) from the field and 36.4-percent (4-11) from long range. Mrkaljevic led the way with eight points and six rebounds in the half. The Bearcats also made 13-of-26 field goals with Dillon Starzl leading the charge with 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting.

Northwest took a 40-38 lead after a 3-pointer from Sullivan with 15 minutes, 47 seconds to play. The Griffons led the rest of the way, however.

Alfreeman Flowers jumped into the air and caught a pass from Harris, and the junior slammed home the alley-oop to excite the crowd while taking a 46-43 lead.

Missouri Western continued to shoot the ball effectively, and Cedric Clinkscales put in a layup to give the Griffons their first double-digit lead of the game, 62-51 with just less than 5 minutes to play, and the Bearcats never came within four as Missouri Western took home the win 71-58.

Kalvin Balque had a nice game off the bench, totaling 13 points and three rebounds while going 2-from-3 at the 3-point line. Harris had a team-high 14 points.

Up next for Missouri Western is Lindenwood. The Griffons play Wednesday night at MWSU Fieldhouse, with the game-time set for 7:30 p.m.

— MWSU Sports Information —